If your deceased loved one leaves behind no wholly dependent children, partial dependents may collect benefits according to their percentage of dependence. Any remaining benefits go to:

  • Non-dependent children
  • Surviving parents of the deceased

Collection of benefits can also be affected by exceptional circumstances:

  • The deceased received workers’ comp benefits prior to death.
  • The beneficiaries are non-resident aliens.

Due to the complexity of the distribution system, the services of a workers’ comp attorney are highly recommended for anyone trying to prove financial dependence. 

What South Carolina Workers’ Comp Pays

The family of an employee who dies because of a  work-related injury or illness should generally receive:

  • Reimbursement for medical expenses incurred prior to death
  • Approximately two-thirds of the deceased’s average weekly salary (up to a weekly cap that changes annually) for 500 weeks
  • Funeral expenses up to $2,500

Reporting and Filing

Even though you’re mourning the loss of your loved one, it’s important to take the proper steps immediately after a work-related death:

  • Report the death to the employer or workplace claims representative.
  • File a Form 52 with the SCWCC.
  • Keep all bills, receipts, and documentation for medical and funeral expenses.
  • Consult an attorney.

Denials and the Appeals Process For A Charleston Area Workers' Compensation Claim

Workers’ comp death benefit claims are among the most expensive for your loved one’s employer’s insurance company to pay. If there was a significant period of time between the injury and the ensuing death, perhaps surgery or other expensive medical procedures took place. If so, the hospital bills are likely to be high. Nearly 10 years’ worth of lost wage reimbursement can also add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

The more expensive the claim, the more likely the insurance company is to look for ways to dispute or deny it to save money. Some common reasons for death benefit claim denials are:

  • A pre-existing medical condition contributed to the on-the-job death.
  • The employer maintains the deceased worker was not an employee but an independent contractor not eligible for workers’ comp benefits.
  • The deceased employee’s injuries were self-inflicted/intentional.
  • The employee was committing a crime or under the influence of drugs/alcohol when the fatal injury occurred.
  • The employee’s fatal injury was not sustained in the course of work.  

If your death benefit is denied, however, that is not the last word on your claim. The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission (SCWCC) allows you to appeal the insurance company’s denial at five different levels: 

  • Informal conference
  • SCWCC hearing request
  • Commission review
  • SC Court of Appeals
  • SC Supreme Court

Your attorney can guide you through these difficult procedures and be sure you make no mistakes that might hurt your claim. 

Have You Been Injured On The Job?

If you've been hurt at your job you can speak with a workers' compensation lawyer. Please contact us online or call our Charleston, South Carolina office directly at 843.488.2359 to schedule your consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our ConwayMyrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Mt. PleasantNorth Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.

Dirk J. Derrick
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South Carolina Lawyer Dirk Derrick helps victims recover from car accidents, personal injury & wrongful death.