What Benefits are Available to Bereaved Family Members?

July 4, 2013

Dr. Jack Rabin, 56, tripped by the salad bar at a Harrisburg restaurant in November 2006 while on a working lunch with a doctoral student from Penn State University. Dr. Rabin suffered a broken arm and shoulder and picked up an infection as a result of being operated on for his injuries. Dr. Rabin eventually succumbed to the infection and died. Dr. Rabin’s wife claimed workers compensation benefits given that Dr. Rabin was originally injured in the course of a work-related lunch with a student. The Pennsylvania appellate court upheld the lower court ruling, finding that even though Dr. Rabin was not on the premises of his employer, and the injury took place during his lunch time, since Dr. Rabin was furthering the business of his employer during the lunch, Dr. Rabin’s wife is entitled to benefits provided by workers compensation law.

Under workers compensation law in Pennsylvania, dependent family members, such as the widow and children of a worker that dies from an illness or injury that occurred in the course of employment, are entitled to claim death benefits. The amount paid is a percentage of the deceased’s average weekly income. Children can often claim benefits until they reach the age of 18. If the children are in school, they can claim benefits until the age of 23. If a widow remarries, she is entitled to a further 104 weeks of benefits. Family members can also claim up to $3,000 towards funeral expenses.

The law relating to death benefits can be complicated, and you should consider discussing your situation with an experienced Berks County workers compensation attorney for a thorough analysis of your case and for further information on the benefits available to the bereaved family members.