Receiving Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits in Mississippi
Losing someone close to you is always a tragic and difficult experience. Losing a loved one unexpectedly can make it even harder, especially when their cause of death was preventable. If someone close to you died due to a work injury, no amount of money can truly compensate you and your family for your loss, but you may be eligible to receive compensation for certain expenses and damages, such as funeral and burial costs, medical bills, and pain and suffering.
After losing a loved one, the last thing you want to worry about is money while you grieve, but that’s a tragic reality for countless people who have experienced a death in the family. If your loved one passed away from a work injury, you may be eligible to receive a type of workers’ compensation benefit.
Workers’ compensation benefits in Mississippi are usually used to compensate workers who are injured while at work. If someone is killed on the job or from injuries sustained at work, they can’t recover their compensation, but certain family members and dependents can recover funds. These death benefits can last for many years, so you shouldn’t hesitate to apply if you’re a qualified family member or dependent.
Although receiving death benefits should be a seamless process, insurance companies often attempt to avoid paying out full claims that surviving family members are owed. You need expert lawyers who specialize in death benefits to ensure you receive the full benefits you’re entitled to.
For legal assistance in Mississippi, contact Lunsford, Baskin, & Priebe, PLLC. We have years of experience helping the surviving family members of those who lost their lives while at work. We’ll work tirelessly to make sure insurance companies pay out the full claim you’re owed.
Death Benefits and Workers’ Compensation in Mississippi
In 2019, 53 Mississippians lost their lives due to a workplace injury. The deaths were a result of transportation incidents, violence by another person or animal, slips and falls, and contact with objects or equipment. If you lost a loved one because of a workplace injury, you need to be aware of whether you qualify for receiving workers’ compensation death benefits.
Qualifying for Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits in Mississippi
Those who qualify for workers’ compensation death benefits in Mississippi primarily include surviving spouses, minor children, and family members who were dependent on the deceased. Those who qualify will receive a percentage of the wages the victim received while they were alive.
The percentage of the deceased’s wages that goes toward death benefits in Mississippi is as follows:
- Surviving spouses qualify for 35%
- Each dependent child along with the surviving spouse receives an additional 10%
- If there’s no surviving spouse, each dependent child receives 25%
- Dependent parents, siblings, grandparents, and other family members can receive 15%
One important factor determining the percentage of the deceased’s wages that you’ll receive is that death benefits cannot surpass 66.67% of their wages at the time of the victim’s death. This means that if a surviving spouse has four dependent children, they can’t go over 66.67% of the decedent’s wages. Also, any additional potential recipients of death benefits cannot receive compensation if the 66.67% of the weekly wages is already allocated.
Children can continue receiving benefits up to the age of 23 if they’re full-time students. If they are not students, they’ll stop receiving benefits at 18. Children who are over the age of 18 and have a physical and/or mental disability can also receive death benefits if they’re unable to earn a living wage because of their condition.
If you’re a family member other than a spouse or minor child, you need to be able to prove that you were financially dependent on the deceased.
In addition to earning death benefits from the weekly wages of the deceased, surviving members can receive a funeral benefit of $5,000. Surviving spouses also receive an additional $1,000.
Prioritizing Who Receives Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits
In the event that there are competing death benefit claims between potential recipients, the first to receive benefits would be the surviving spouse and dependent children, but there are cases in Mississippi in which stepchildren of the deceased or children born outside of the marriage don’t qualify for benefits. This is a case-by-case basis, so you should contact a death benefits lawyer if you’re in doubt.
If the victim doesn’t have a surviving spouse or dependent children, the benefits would go to parents, siblings, or other dependents. Another important factor for determining the receipt of benefits is if you’re considered “wholly” dependent or “partially” dependent, which we’ll cover in-depth in a later section of this page.
Can You Lose Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits in Mississippi?
In Mississippi, those financially dependent on the deceased only receive benefits for a maximum of 450 weeks. Additionally, a surviving spouse loses their benefits if they remarry. Dependent children can continue receiving 15% of their deceased parent’s weekly wages even if the surviving spouse remarries.
The Difference Between Partially Dependent Claimants and Wholly Dependent Claimants in Mississippi
When it comes to claiming workers’ compensation death benefits after the death of a loved one, there are two classifications of recipients: partially dependent claimants and wholly dependent claimants. The amount of compensation you can expect to receive after losing a loved one depends on whether you were wholly or partially dependent.
Being wholly dependent means that your primary source of financial support came from the deceased. The percentage of the victim’s income that went toward supporting wholly dependent claimants is irrelevant. For example, if only 10% of the victim’s earnings went toward supporting someone and that was the person’s primary financial support, they would still be labeled wholly dependent. Another critical factor to take into account is that the deceased didn’t have to be your only source of income while they were alive. They need to have been your primary source of income, but you could have received smaller sources of income from other sources.
When someone is a partially dependent claimant, they only relied on partial financial support from the victims. Because they were only partially dependent, they would only receive benefits based on their percentage of dependence.
Proving That You’re Wholly or Partially Dependent
If you were wholly or partially dependent on the deceased, you can prove your claimant status by showing proof that the deceased provided you with money for support. You can prove you were dependent with financial records, documentation, or other evidence of partial or whole dependency.
How Much Do Wholly Dependent and Partially Dependent Claimants Receive in Mississippi?
Wholly and partially dependent claimants will receive different degrees of payment. A wholly dependent claimant will receive a percentage of the victim’s total earnings while the partially dependent claimant receives benefits based on the percentage of the victim’s earnings that went toward partially supporting them. Wholly dependent claimants qualify for death benefits before the partially dependent claimant. The order in which wholly dependent and partially dependent claimants receive death benefits depends on their relationship with the deceased.
Wholly Dependent Claimants
If you can prove you were wholly dependent on the victim, meaning they were your primary source of financial support, you’ll receive a percentage of their earnings, which is also based on your relationship with them. For example, if you were wholly dependent on them and you’re their child, you would qualify for either 10% or 25% of their earnings. If a surviving spouse is receiving death benefits, you would qualify for 10%, but if the victim doesn’t have a surviving spouse receiving death benefits, you could qualify for 25% of the decedent’s earnings.
It’s important to note that you may not receive benefits even if you were wholly dependent. If others have already claimed benefits making up 66.67% of the victim’s earnings, you can’t recover benefits even if you were wholly dependent on them.
Partially Dependent Claimants
As noted above, partially dependent claimants receive benefits after wholly dependent claimants. If there are death benefits left after wholly dependent claimants, meaning recipients haven’t surpassed 66.67% of the victim’s earnings, partially dependent claimants may qualify for a percentage of the decedent’s wages.
The way in which you calculate the amount you can expect to receive is based on the percentage of the victim’s earnings that went toward supporting you. For example, if your loved one earned $1,000 a week and you received $100, that’s 10% of the deceased’s wages. You would then multiply that number based on what you would qualify for if you were wholly dependent. If you’re a child of the deceased and there’s no surviving spouse claiming death benefits, you would qualify for 25% of the decedent’s earnings as a wholly dependent claimant. 25% of $1,000 is $250, and you would be eligible to receive 10% of that $250, meaning you would receive $25.
Contact Mississippi Death Benefit Attorneys
Determining whether you qualify for workers’ compensation death benefits can often be challenging. There’s a great deal of nuance in receiving death benefits, and it can be an especially confusing process when you’re grieving a loved one. On top of the different issues regarding qualifications, insurance companies may try to avoid paying the full death benefits you deserve.
In order to untangle the complexities of death benefits and to ensure you receive the money you’re entitled to, you need legal experts who specialize in workers’ compensation death benefits. Fortunately, the lawyers at Lunsford, Baskin, and Priebe, PLLC have years of experience helping Mississippi residents receive the money they deserve for losing loved ones in the workplace. Call our Jackson office at 601-983-2667 to discuss how you can move forward to receiving workers’ compensation death benefits. You can also receive a free case evaluation by clicking here.