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Wrongful Death Lawyer in Tacoma, WA

Attorney for Death Benefits in Washington State

Compassionate Death Benefits Lawyer Advocates for Families Who Have Lost a Loved One from Work Injury or Occupational Illness in King County, Lewis County, Pierce County, Thurston County, and Throughout WA

Losing a loved one to a workplace injury or occupational disease can have devastating consequences for a family. Not only do surviving families have to cope with the emotional loss caused by their loved one’s passing, but they must also learn how to financially adapt to the loss of their loved one’s income. That’s why the workers’ compensation system in Washington state offers eligible surviving family members with certain financial benefits. An attorney for death benefits in Tacoma from Smith Duran Law can fight to ensure your family gets the compensation you deserve. 

Reach out to Smith Duran Law for a free case evaluation to speak with a Tacoma-based lawyer for wrongful death cases in Washington state. We can help you learn more about your family’s rights to receive critical financial assistance after your loved one’s passing. Our lawyers are ready to tenaciously pursue justice for you and your family.

What Death Benefits Does Washington State’s Workers’ Compensation Pay Surviving Family Members of a Deceased Worker?

Washington state’s workers’ compensation system affords financial benefits to the surviving spouse or dependents of a worker who passes away due to a work injury or an occupational disease. Death benefits for surviving family members of a worker deceased due to a work-related injury or illness include:

  • “First survivor benefit” – Death benefits include a one-time payment that is made immediately upon approval of a beneficiary’s application for survivor benefits
  • Funeral/burial benefits – Workers’ compensation also offers a payment to contribute toward the cost of a worker’s funeral and burial services
  • Survivor pension – A surviving spouse or surviving dependents of a deceased worker can receive a monthly pension payment if the worker passed away due to a work injury or occupational illness

The survivor’s pension benefit for a work injury or occupational disease-related death varies depending on which surviving family members are left behind by a worker:

  • If a worker leaves a surviving spouse/registered domestic partner, they receive a benefit of 60 percent of the worker’s average weekly wage at the time of their injury or onset of occupational disease (subject to the statutory maximum of 120 percent of the worker’s wage). If the worker also left minor children, an additional two percent of the worker’s wage is paid per child, up to a maximum of 10 percent. Children living in a different household from the worker’s surviving spouse or partner receive five percent of the total benefit per child, up to a maximum of 25 percent, with the remaining benefit being paid to the surviving spouse or partner and any other children they shared with the deceased worker.
  • If a worker had no surviving spouse/registered domestic partner but left minor dependent children (up to age 18, or age 23 if enrolled full-time in an educational program), the parent or guardian of a surviving child is paid 35 percent of the worker’s average wage, with an additional 15 percent for each additional minor dependent child up to a maximum of 65 percent, with the benefits to be divided equally among all surviving children. 
  • If the worker had no surviving spouse or children but had other dependent family members, those family members can receive half of the monthly financial support they received from the worker, up to a limit of 65 percent of the worker’s average wage

In addition to monthly survivor pension benefits paid when a worker passes away because of a work injury or occupational illness, surviving family members may also be entitled to a survivor’s pension if the worker was permanently and totally disabled and awarded pension benefits during their lifetime, and the worker later passed away due to causes unrelated to their work injury or occupational illness. However, this survivor’s pension from a worker’s permanent total disability pension benefits will only be paid if the worker elected a lower pension benefit payment during their lifetime. If the worker made that election, a designated beneficiary may be entitled to a pension benefit equal to one-half, or 100 percent, of the reduced pension benefit received by the worker. 

Contact Us for a Free Case Review to See How a wrongful death lawyer in Tacoma, WA Can Make the Difference for Your Family When Your Loved One Passes Away from a Work Injury or Occupational Illness

When you have had a family member pass away from a work injury or occupational illness, Washington state’s workers’ compensation system can provide you with important compensation and financial benefits. Contact a Tacoma-based wrongful death lawyer at Smith Duran Law today for a free, no-obligation consultation with an attorney for death benefits in Washington state to see how our firm may be able to assist your family during this difficult time.

Frequently Asked Questions about Death Benefits in Washington State

Can I continue to receive monthly pension payments if I remarry?

If you are receiving surviving spouse/registered domestic partner pension benefits, your monthly pension will terminate if you remarry or enter another registered domestic partnership. At that point, you will have the option of either accepting a lump sum settlement of the lesser of 24 times your monthly benefit payment or 50 percent of the remaining annuity value of the pension or waiving the settlement in exchange for maintaining your right to reinstate your pension benefits if your new marriage or registered domestic partnership terminates or ends due to divorce or your new spouse’s/partner’s death.

Are survivors’ pension benefits taxable?

Under federal tax law, survivors’ pension benefits are not considered taxable income. If you move to another state, your benefits may not be taxed so long as the state does not consider “workers’ compensation” taxable income.

How long do I have to file a claim for death benefits?

A surviving spouse or eligible surviving dependents of a deceased worker must file a claim for benefits within one year of the date of a worker’s death from a workplace injury, or within two years of receiving written notice from a physician that a worker’s death was caused by an occupational disease.

  • Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

    The Department of Labor and Industries manages claims for injuries at work. You are entitled to money for lost wages, medical treatment, vocational retraining, loss of body function, and in some cases a pension.

  • Personal Injury Attorney

    If your injury was caused by someone other than a co‑worker, an auto accident, or defective equipment, you may be entitled to additional compensation. Our personal injury attorney in Tacoma will evaluate your case.

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