Workers Comp Death Benefits vs Wrongful Death Benefits: What’s the Big Difference?


Unfortunately, tragedies at work happen. Workers get killed while performing their duties, while their surviving family members have to endure emotional distress and financial burden that comes along with a job-related death.

And even though no money in the world can bring back your loved one, seeking death benefits from the deceased’s employer is vital to carry on with your life and keep your family afloat (especially if the deceased was the sole provider for the family).

But that’s where the following question arises: should the surviving family members seek workers compensation death benefits or wrongful death benefits? And what’s the difference between the two?

Today, our best workers compensation attorneys in Los Angeles at the Law Offices of Kropach & Kropach will spell out the difference between the two seemingly identical compensation policies.

Can the employer be sued for wrongful death?

Since pretty much all employers in Los Angeles carry workers compensation insurance, they cannot be sued for job-related injuries and deaths.

Meaning: if your loved one gets killed while performing his duties, you will most likely not be able to sue the employer even if he/she acted negligently and contributed to the dangerous and deadly workplace environment.

However, if the workplace death was caused by a third party – for example, a manufacturer of faulty equipment or a contractor that supplied the company with defective products – the surviving family members may use third parties for wrongful death.

In either case, the deceased’s family is entitled to death benefits even when they cannot sue the employer for wrongful death. Let’s find out the difference between workers compensation death benefits and wrongful death benefits – and which one surviving family members should pursue.

Workers compensation for death benefits

In Los Angeles and all across Los Angeles, benefits under workers compensation death claims are calculated based on the number of the deceased’s wages prior to his/her workplace death.

Typically, death benefits amount to two-thirds of the deceased’s wage, and are paid in regular weekly installments. Depending on the circumstances of the death, the deceased employee’s wages, and other factors, there may be a minimum or maximum death benefit limit.

Some employers may also choose to pay a one-time lump sum instead of paying weekly death benefits to the surviving family members. Being legally represented is vital if you want to negotiate a favorable lump sum settlement of death benefits.

Consult our best workers compensation lawyers at Law Offices of Kropach & Kropach to find out how to reach a more favorable settlement with the employer and his/her insurance company in your particular case.

Workers compensation death benefits are paid out until the spouse’s death or remarriage. In other cases, eligible dependents receive death benefits until they turn 18.

It’s highly advised to be represented by an attorney to make sure you receive death benefits for as long as necessary.

Wrongful death benefits

One can argue that surviving family members can recover much more in wrongful death benefits than in workers compensation death benefits.

Damages in a wrongful death case include any medical and other injuries- and death-related expenses suffered by the deceased and his/her surviving family from the moment of the negligent act until his/her death.

Funeral and burial expenses are also included in wrongful death benefits. In most cases, surviving family members will be entitled to lost wages and other monetary damages to compensate for their financial losses.

With the help of an experienced workers comp attorney, you will be able to obtain lost wages that would have been earned by the deceased employee until his/her anticipated retirement.

Loss of services, care, assistance, and other benefits provided by the victim may also be included in a wrongful death claim filed by surviving family members.

Consult our Los Angeles workers compensation lawyers at Law Offices of Kropach & Kropach to find out which claim – workers compensation death benefits or wrongful death benefits claim – you should file to compensate for your financial losses and other damages.

Call our Los Angeles offices at 818-609-7005 or complete this contact form for a free case evaluation.

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