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Maryland Worker's Compensation Laws provide for compensation to dependents of covered employees who died as a result of an accidental personal injury or occupational disease. (See Maryland'sLabor and Employment Articleat sec. 9-678, et. seq.) Maryland case law considers a dependent for purposes of worker's compensation to be "one who is relying wholly or in part upon a worker for the reasonable necessities of life at the time of the worker's accident." Flores v. King, 13 Md. App. 270 (1971). Although short enough in 1971, there were a lot of words in this definition for lawyers to zero in on:
To be eligible to receive Maryland Worker's Compensation death benefits when a loved one has died from a work injury, it's not enough to show that he or she had a moral or legal obligation to provide support to you, even as the spouse or child of the deceased worker. To be a dependent, you must show that the worker provided "actual" support with his earnings, and that you did actually "rely" on his or her support. This reliance doesn't need to be 100%, but it does need to have been manifested on the date of the injury that resulted in the worker's death.
As the case law suggests, you don't need to show that you were 100%, or "wholly" dependent upon the deceased. Total dependence is when a claimant subsisted entirely upon the earnings of the deceased employee. This is not to say that a claimant seeking to be classified by the Maryland Worker's Compensation Commission as "wholly dependent" needs to show that he or she is "destitute," or receives other occasional financial assistance or free services from other sources. Similarly person who can show she relied partly on the earnings of the deceased worker, including occasional support, may still receive death benefit compensation.
Contact Schifanelli Law, LLP at 410-263-0028 for an initial consultation with a Lawyer in Annapolis.
2450 Riva Road, Suite 201, Annapolis, Maryland 21401.
Serving the Maryland and Washington D.C. Communities.
Maryland Worker's Compensation Laws mandate that employers provide insurance to cover lost wages, medical treatment, and other benefits for their employees who have accidents at work or acquire an occupational disease as a result of their job. But benefits as accrue for the surviving Dependents of Maryland workers who are killed or die as a result of any on the job injury or occupational disease.
Receiving these benefits from the worker's compensation insurance company, however, isn't automatic. At times it turns into an all out legal battle. For example, an insurer can deny that your loved one was even a covered employee (see "Am I Covered?"). In other cases, insurers will attempt to show that you or your loved ones were not legally "dependent" on the deceased worker at the time of the accident.