"Death benefits" awards in Nevada workers' compensation cases

Death benefits are offered to the dependents of an employee who dies due to an occupational or work injury. The death must be mainly caused by work.

An application for death benefits includes:

A death claim must be filed within one year of a worker's death.

Death benefits include:

  • Up to $10,000 for burial expenses
  • Up to two-thirds of the deceased worker's average monthly wage payable to the worker's dependents

The spouse of the deceased worker can receive death benefits for the rest of his or her life.

The children of a deceased worker can receive benefits until the age of 18 or until 22 if the dependent is a full-time student.

Other relatives supported by the deceased can also receive death benefits. These benefits are even available to undocumented workers, but generally not to independent contractors.

In this article, our Las Vegas Nevada work injury attorneys will explain:

funeral casket workers' compensation death
Death benefits are offered to the dependents of an employee who dies due to a work injury.

1. What are death benefits

If a catastrophic workplace injury results in an employee's death during the course of his or her employment, the deceased worker's family is entitled to benefits.1 However, the death must substantially result from work.2

Example: Matt attended a swap meet to sell items for his employer. Matt had a heart attack and died due to exhaustion and dehydration.

Matt's death was not substantially due to his employment but instead was due to his long-standing heart condition.

Death benefits exist to replace the income that the deceased worker would have earned to take care of those the worker provided for.

Example: Gabriel is killed at work. He supported his wife and child.

His wife receives death benefits for the rest of her life to replace the income Gabriel would have earned.

Death benefits to dependents are instead of benefits to the injured worker, including temporary disability, permanent disability, mileage reimbursement, and vocational rehabilitation.

2. Application for death benefits

A Nevada application for death benefits includes:

The death benefit application uses the same form as any other claim for Nevada workers' compensation benefits.

Example: Anna sends an application for death benefits to the insurance company. It includes:

  • Employee's Claim for Compensation
  • her husband's death certificate
  • a copy of their marriage license
  • a certification of her husband's doctor as to the cause and manner of death

3. Time to file a claim

A Nevada death claim must be filed within one year of the worker's death.3

Death benefits are completely separate from the right of the employee to claim benefits while he or she is alive.4

Example: 

Frank is diagnosed with asbestos poisoning. He fails to timely file a claim for his injury, so he does not receive workers' compensation benefits.

Frank dies from the disease. His widow files a claim for death benefits.

The widow can collect death benefits because her claim for death benefits is separate from her husband's claim for workers' compensation disability benefits.

3.1. Burial Expenses

Burial expenses are paid up to $10,000.5

Example: Joseph is killed in an accident at work. The total cost of the funeral, including transportation, is $7,434. This amount is paid by the insurance company.

The family does not receive the remainder.

greaving family work related death
The death benefit is split according to the family situation of the deceased employee.

4. Payments to dependents

The death benefit is two-thirds of the deceased worker's average monthly wage. The current maximum is $3,802.17.6

The death benefit is split according to the family situation of the deceased employee.

4.1. Total dependents

The deceased employee's spouse and minor children are considered total dependents and split the death benefit.

If the deceased employee has a surviving spouse, the spouse receives the death benefit until his or her death.7 These benefits are for the surviving spouse and dependent children.

The surviving spouse must be married to the employee at the time of his or her death to receive these benefits.8 An ex-wife does not qualify.9

If the deceased worker has children from a prior relationship, the surviving spouse receives 50% of the death benefit, and any children split the remaining 50% until they reach age 18, or age 22 if they are full-time students.

If there is no surviving spouse, or the surviving spouse dies, any children split the death benefit until age 18 or 22.

Example: Doug is killed on the job. He has a wife and two minor children from a prior marriage. Doug earned $6,000 per month.

Two-thirds of Doug's wage is $4,000, but the maximum benefit is $3,802.17.

Doug's wife receives one-half of this per month for the rest of her life.

Doug's two children split the remaining half until they reach 18 years of age, or 22 if they are full-time students.

4.2. Benefits for other family members

If there is no surviving spouse or children, other family members may be able to obtain benefits:

  • A surviving parent wholly dependent on the deceased employee can receive one-third of the deceased worker's average monthly wage
  • Both parents who are wholly dependent can receive the entire death benefit can receive two-thirds of the deceased worker's average monthly wage.
  • Any brothers or sisters wholly dependent under age 18 can receive a proportionate share of the entire death benefit until the age of 1810

Example: Janet is killed on the job. She was the primary caregiver for her two younger sisters. Janet earned $4,500 per month.

The two sisters split two-thirds of Janet's average monthly wage, or $3,000. Each will receive $1,500 until they reach the age of 18 or 22 if full-time students.

Any other individuals who may be totally dependent on the deceased employee must prove his or her dependency.11

4.3. Partial dependents

Any person who is partially dependent on the deceased employee can receive partial dependency payments. However, a partial dependent must be related to the deceased worker in some way.12

Partial dependency continues for 100 months.13

Example: David is killed at work. Jenny is the ex-wife of David, and she files a death claim.

Even though Jenny is no longer related to David, he completely supports her.

However, because Jenny is not related to David, she is not entitled to any death benefit.

5. Nevada death benefits for suicide

Death benefits are generally excluded from cases in which an employee's injury is self-inflicted. However, an injured worker's dependents who can show that the suicide was connected to the work injury can claim death benefits.14

This will override the exclusion that a self-inflicted injury does not receive workers' compensation benefits.15

To have a valid claim, the dependent must show that:

  • the employee suffered an industrial injury
  • the industrial injury caused some psychological condition severe enough to override the employee's rational judgment
  • the psychological condition caused the employee to commit suicide16

Example: Dave suffers a back injury at work. The insurance company accepts the claim.

Due to severe pain from the back injury, Dave commits suicide.

Dave's wife could recover death benefits for the suicide.17

Rights of a Nevada worker's dependents

Whether or not an injured worker has obtained workers' compensation benefits for a work injury him or herself, his or her dependents may still be able to obtain death benefits if the worker later passes away.

A potential dependent of an injured worker who passes away due to work needs to be aware of his or her rights to obtain benefits themselves.

Call us for help...

Nevada workers compensation attorneys
Call us at 702-DEFENSE

If you or someone you care about was injured at work in Nevada, our Las Vegas workers' compensation attorneys may be able to get you compensation. (For cases in California, please see our page on benefits in California workers compensation cases.)

For a free consultation to discuss your case simply fill out the form below or call us at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673).

Legal References:

  1. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 616C.505

  2. Spencer v. Harrah's, Inc., 98 Nev. 99, 641 P.2d 481, 1982 Nev. LEXIS 398

  3. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 616C.020

  4. State Indus. Ins. Sys. v. Lodge, 107 Nev. 867, 822 P.2d 664, 1991 Nev. LEXIS 184

  5. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 616C.505(1)

  6. http://dir.nv.gov/uploadedFiles/dirnvgov/content/WCS/ImportantDocs/MaxCompMemoFY18.pdfNev. Rev. Stat. § 616C.505(2)

  7. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 616C.515(13)

  8. Banegas v. State Indus. Ins. Sys., 117 Nev. 222, 19 P.3d 245, 2001 Nev. LEXIS 23, 117 Nev. Adv. Rep. 22

  9. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 616C.515(6)

  10. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 616C. 515(8)(a)

  11. Banegas v. State Indus. Ins. Sys., 117 Nev. 222, 19 P.3d 245, 2001 Nev. LEXIS 23, 117 Nev. Adv. Rep. 22

  12. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 616C. 515(8)(c)

  13. Vredenburg v. Sedgwick CMS, 124 Nev. 553, 188 P.3d 1084, 2008 Nev. LEXIS 65, 124 Nev. Adv. Rep. 53

  14. Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 616C.230

  15. Vredenburg v. Sedgwick CMS, 124 Nev. 553, 188 P.3d 1084, 2008 Nev. LEXIS 65, 124 Nev. Adv. Rep. 53

  16. See Vredenburg v. Sedgwick CMS, 124 Nev. 553, 188 P.3d 1084, 2008 Nev. LEXIS 65, 124 Nev. Adv. Rep. 53

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