Maryland Workers’ Compensation death benefits for surviving dependents

Eligibility is based on having been financially dependent on the deceased, not on marriage or family relationship.

The surviving loved ones of a Marylander who has passed away from a work-related injury or occupational disease may face financial challenges from the sudden interruption of the worker's income upon which they may have depended for support. State law provides for Workers' Compensation benefits for surviving dependents in certain situations.

Legal advice important

Death and dependent claims can be complex, so it is a good idea to talk to an experienced Workers' Compensation lawyer in this situation. It can be a great help to have professional representation in the Workers' Compensation claim at a time of grief. A successful claimant must show that the injury or illness that caused death arose out of and in the course of employment. The claimant must have been completely or partially financially dependent on the deceased employee.

Additionally, an experienced attorney will investigate the circumstances of the death not only for the Workers' Compensation claim, but also to determine whether there are any third parties other than the employer that may have liability in a third-party wrongful death lawsuit. For example, was the death connected to the malfunction of a defectively designed or manufactured piece of equipment, in which case the manufacturer or seller could have liability?

Nature of death and dependency claims

Eligibility depends on a showing of financial dependency, rather than on the relationship between the claimant and the deceased, but Maryland Workers' Compensation law does set out specific provisions for death benefits for surviving spouses and children. For example, there are provisions for continuing benefits for disabled adult children and for children who go on to educational programs after they turn 18.

If more than one person is eligible for death benefits, the Maryland Workers' Compensation Commission has discretion to divide the death benefit award among them in a "just and equitable" way. When there are both wholly and partially dependent survivors, the Commission may give benefits only to those wholly dependent or apportioned among both groups.

In general, survivors who were wholly dependent are eligible for payments of two-thirds of the decedent's average weekly wage or AWW up to the statewide AWW and not less than $25.

Funeral expenses are covered up to $7,000. Even if there are no dependents, Workers' Compensation may still cover the funeral expenses.

The lawyers at Cohen, Snyder, Eisenberg & Katzenberg, P.A., with several Maryland offices, represent the surviving loved ones of people who died from work-related injuries or diseases in Workers' Compensation death claims throughout the state.