Workers Compensation – Death benefits

In the State of Florida, workers’ compensation is governed by Florida Statutes Chapter 440. Workers’ compensation is intended to provide benefits in case of a workplace injury, workplace illness, or workplace fatality. If a fatality occurs due to injury or illness caused by job tasks, certain dependents are entitled to workers’ compensation death benefits.

Florida Statute 440.16 explains the compensation for death which is available under Florida’s workers compensation law. Death benefits are available if death results from a workplace accident either within one year of the accident or within five years of continuous disability caused by the accident.

Death benefits can include actual funeral expenses up to $7,500. The bill for the funeral expenses must be provided. A percentage of the deceased’s worker’s weekly wages can also be paid out to surviving family members. The specific percentage will vary depending upon the nature of the relationships. For example, a spouse will receive 50 percent of the deceased worker’s weekly wage if there are no children. If there are minor children, the spouse will receive 50 percent of average weekly wages as well as 16 ⅔ percent of average weekly wages on account of the children.

The maximum total benefits for all dependents entitled to compensation is 66 ⅔ percent of the average weekly wage the deceased was earning prior to the workplace accident. Compensation cannot exceed $150,000, or exceed limits provided in Florida Statute 440.12(2). Florida Statute 440.12(2) sets the maximum compensation at 100 percent of the statewide average weekly wage determined in the year the injury occurred, even if the deceased worker was earning more.