Fox 13 reports another tragic death from the TECO power plant industrial accident on June 29. Frank Jones was the fourth worker to die from injuries sustained in the June workplace accident. Six Tampa Electric workers were injured or killed in the accident at the Big Bend Power Plant while cleaning a tank. Two men died at the accident scene, and another man died later that week. The men were sprayed with molten stone waste as they were trying to unclog the tank.

Workplace Accidents That Result in Death and Death Benefits

This tragic accident highlights the fact that employees can and do lose their lives while performing their job duties. When we think about workers’ compensation benefits, we often think about the temporary benefits provided by Florida’s workers’ compensation system — medical benefits and short-term wage assistance. However, our workers’ comp system also provides death benefits for workplace accidents. Eligible family members may be entitled to receive workers’ comp death benefits when their family member dies because of a work-related injury. The worker must have died within one year of the accident or within five years of a continuous disability that resulted from an occupational injury or illness. Up to $150,000 may be paid to cover funeral expenses (up to $7,500), weekly payments to dependents, and educational benefits for the spouse. Weekly benefits are paid to eligible dependents based on their relationship with the deceased worker. The amount of money a dependent can receive is also based on the relationship between the deceased and the deceased’s average weekly wage before death. The following is the order of preference for payments of weekly benefits under a workers’ comp death benefits claim.

    • Spouses can receive 50 percent of the average weekly wage if there are no surviving children.
    • When there are surviving children, the spouse receives his or her 50 percent plus 16 /23 percent for each child.
    • If there is not a surviving spouse, children can receive 33.3 percent of the average weekly wage until age 18 years or 22 years if a full-time student. A child who is unable to earn an income due to a disability can continue to receive death benefits.
    • Parents who were dependents of the deceased can receive 26 percent of the average weekly wages as long as they remain dependent.
    • Siblings and grandchildren are also eligible to receive 15 percent of the average weekly wage as long as they remain dependent.

All benefits may be paid until the maximum of $150,000 is paid for the claim. Even though the workers’ comp statute provides for these death benefits, it is not always easy to obtain the benefits. Furthermore, a judge may apply the payments as he sees just and proper for the best interests of all parties. Therefore, hiring a Boca Raton workers comp attorney can help ensure that you receive the benefits the law says you are entitled to receive when your loved one dies because of a workplace accident.

Call a Boca Raton Workers Comp Attorney for Help

For a free appointment with a Boca Raton workers comp attorney, contact The Broderick Law Firm, P.L. at 1-800-333-3903. We represent individuals in West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale & Miami, FL.