Fatal Work Accident Claims Can Be Made By Thier Family Or Dependants
When a person has died as a result of a work-related event or latent onset injury, a claim can be made by their family or by a person defined as a ‘dependant’ under the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003. We understand it can be a difficult time for family members after losing someone in a workplace accident. Due to the sensitive nature of this type of claim, we encourage you to contact The Personal Injury Lawyers call us to lodge the claim. It may be helpful to ask someone such as a family member or friend to help you.
Compensation for a fatal injury may include lump-sum or quarterly payments for dependants, as well as reasonable expenses to cover the cost of a funeral. There are a number of documents the insurer will need from you when claiming for dependency. These help the insurer to determine:
- the cause of death
- the relationship to the deceased person, and
- the dependency to the deceased person.
- Medical evidence to show cause of death
When making a claim for a fatal injury, you need to provide the insurer with a Q-COMP workers’ compensation medical certificate. This is the best evidence of a worker’s death. If you don't have a medical certificate, we can organise this for you. You can also provide Workcover or the self-insurer with:
- the autopsy (post mortem) report
- the death certificate, or
- the report of a Coroner’s Inquest.
In some circumstances ambulance, hospital, or other medical records can be used to provide sufficient evidence of the worker’s fatality.
Proving a relationship to the deceased person
To show you are a ‘member of the family’ of the deceased person, you will need to provide the following:
- for a wife/husband—a marriage certificate
- for a defacto spouse—proof of the defacto relationship for example;
- joint bank accounts
- joint ownership of property
- utilities accounts in both names
- for a dependent child, whether a child or grandchild of the deceased worker—a birth certificate
- for a dependent child over the age of 16—proof of full time education
- for a foster child—relevant documentation from the Department of Children’s Services.
If claiming for dependency on the deceased worker, what will need to be established is the ‘reasonable and proportionate’ monetary value of the loss of dependence. How this is assessed is by looking at the household income for both you and the deceased worker (it is not simply on the wages of the deceased worker). The documents that will be needed to show this include:
- tax returns for the deceased worker and the applicant for the three years prior to the date of death
- copies of letters setting out the amount to be paid under a child support order
- bank statements of both parties to identify:
- monies being transferred from the deceased person’s account to the applicants account
- payments for groceries and utilities
- the level of the applicant's income.
The insurer will also consider a statement covering matters such as:
- how long the dependency has existed and how it came about
- the basis for sharing day to day expenses
- the claimant’s income
- whether the claimant suffers from any disability
- the claimant’s estimate of the monetary value of the loss of dependence
- any proof that the deceased worker was providing monetary support
- how long the dependency would have continued if not for the worker’s death
- whether the claimant and the deceased worker jointly own any property.
- Latent onset injuries
In cases where the person has died as a result of a latent onset injury, such as mesothelioma or malignant skin cancer, the insurer needs to determine whether the deceased person was a ‘worker’ during the period of exposure.
The following information will be required for this purpose in relation to the deceased worker:
- a statement from the claimant about the deceased person’s work history and relevant exposure
- copies of documents such as articles of indenture or apprenticeship, taxation returns or other financial documents showing payment of wages, union membership during the period of exposure and any other documentation about employment that may be available
- where there is no documentary proof of employment, statements from co-workers.
- Other documents that will be needed
The insurer will request the following documents following the death of the worker:
- the Will of the deceased person, if applicable
- Grant of Probate if there is one—this document is issued by the Supreme Court
- Letters of Administration if there is one—this document is issued by the Supreme Court in circumstances where the person died without a Will.
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