Some of the best paying jobs come with substantial risks to the worker. Forestry positions, construction and long-haul trucking can all provide a worker and their family with a decent standard of living.

However, the worker takes on noteworthy risk by performing a job with more danger than other professions. Some workers get hurt on the job, which can result in career changes or early retirement. For a smaller percentage of workers, an injury on the job could wind up being fatal.

When a worker dies because of the job they perform in Tennessee, their surviving family members or estate have the right to certain benefits through workers’ compensation.

Death benefits help protect surviving family members

Losing the primary wage-earner for your family can mean not only being in a position where your household income drops unexpectedly but also incurring substantial expenses, including costs for medical care before they died and funeral expenses afterward.

Thankfully, Tennessee workers’ compensation can both offset the cost that a worker’s death produces and replace at least some of the support they would have given their family. Health care received prior to death will likely be eligible for 100% coverage under workers’ compensation. There will also be $10,000 in coverage for funeral and burial costs.

Family circumstances impact wage replacement death benefits that are available. If the deceased worker has no dependents, like a spouse or children, their estate will receive a one-time payment of $20,000. If the worker left behind a spouse, their spouse can receive as much as 50% of the deceased’s average weekly pay, up to a maximum benefit set by the state. If there are also dependent children, that weekly benefit increases to 66.6% (2/3) of the deceased’s weekly average pay.

It can be hard to navigate a complex application while grieving

Mistakes in how you fill out or turn in a workers’ compensation request for death benefits can potentially mean not getting the coverage and protection your family needs after a tragic loss. Grief can make it hard to focus or prioritize. It can also lead to depression, which can prevent someone from following through with what they know is necessary, such as submitting paperwork before a major deadline.

Working with an attorney to handle a workers’ compensation claim can not only help you avoid missing deadlines or making mistakes but can also protect you by letting you focus on your grief and your family’s welfare instead of on bureaucracy in the wake of an unexpected loss.