Visitor Question

Workers Compensation Death Benefits?

Submitted By: Lydia (Los Angeles, CA)

A family member died in California. He worked 21 years for his company in a high stress management job and had a fatal heart attack during work. He has a disabled minor daughter 11 years old, a wife and a 19 year old son in college.

Do we have a case for workers compensation death benefits? His employer gave me a form (DWC1) to complete for workers comp and I did submit it. What should we do?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Lydia,

The DWC-1 form is the document you need to fill out, sign and date, when you report a work injury or work related illness to an employer or supervisor.

California law mandates an employer give this form to an inured employee within 24 hours of reporting a work related injury or illness.

The DWC-1 form comes from the State Of California’s Division of Workers’ Compensation Department of Industrial Relations. It is the form you’ll need to file to begin the investigation into whether or not the family member’s death was as a result of his employment. In this case, proving the death was a result of the employment is going to be difficult if the decedent had pre-existing heart disease.

The family should seek as many medical opinions as possible. Hopefully an autopsy was performed. Without an autopsy it will be almost impossible to prove the death resulted from any work related action.

There is nothing wrong with pursuing such a claim, especially if the family is convinced the death was as a direct result of the duties if the decedent’s employment. We do strongly recommend you consult with one or more personal injury attorneys. Wrongful death cases cannot be handled by a layperson.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: October 21, 2012

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