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?
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ANSWER for "Workers Compensation Death Benefits?":
Lydia (Los Angeles, CA):
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 an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
The accuracy of information provided on this site is not guaranteed. It is generic information for informal purposes only. It is NOT formal legal advice. Your use of this site does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Before relying on any information found in this site you should consult with a licensed attorney in your state. If you are currently represented by an attorney, you should strictly abide by his/her counsel.