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    Death Claims

    California Workers' Compensation Death Claims

    A Guide to Workers’ Comp Death Benefits in California

    Fatal workplace injuries climbed dramatically in 2016, rising by 7% over the number of work-related deaths the previous year. While California has consistently had one of the lowest rates of workplace deaths in the United States over the past decade, 376 workers still lost their lives in 2017, in large part because the state acts as the nation’s biggest jobs engine.

    Some statistics about workplace deaths in California:

    • In 2017, there were roughly 2.5 fatalities per 100,000 workers
    • More workplace fatalities occur from July to September than in other seasons
    • The age group with the highest number of fatalities from 2013 to 2017 was 45-54 years of age with 354 fatalities
    • Transportation accidents were the largest cause of fatal accidents from 2013 to 2017 at 37%

    When a worker loses their life on the job, their surviving dependents are entitled to receive benefits under workers’ compensation. Known as “death benefits”, this type of compensation is available to the deceased’s spouse, children or other dependents who relied on the worker for financial support.

    At The Bridgeford Law Office, we provide all of our clients with personalized attention throughout the entirety of their claim. Attorneys Mark K. BridgefordGary W. AllenRebecca L. Roupe, and Emily C. Peterson always return client calls and maintain direct communication through the entire workers’ compensation death claims process.

    Call (661) 771-3004 for a consultation.

    Who Is Eligible For Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits?

    If an employee passes away, their total dependents and partial dependents are eligible to receive death benefits. Total dependents are individuals who completely relied on the deceased for financial support, while partial dependents only partly relied on the deceased for support. According to California law, the following members of the deceased’s family are automatically considered to be total dependents:

    • Children under 18
    • Children of any age who are physically or mentally incapacitated
    • A spouse who earned $30,000 or less in the 12 months before the worker’s death

    Other individuals, such as an elderly father or incapacitated cousin, may also qualify as dependents if it can be proven that they relied on the workers for food, clothing and other living expenses.

    Generally speaking, any member of a deceased worker’s family who is not a total dependent will be considered a partial dependent as long as they relied on the worker for a certain percentage of financial support.

    What Types of Death Benefits are Available in California?

    For those who qualify as dependents, they may receive compensation for two different types of benefits: burial expenses and death benefits.

    Workers’ Comp Burial Expenses

    Workers’ compensation must pay for reasonable burial expenses, with a maximum amount of $10,000. If the death took place before January 1, 2013, the amount is $5,000.

    Workers’ Comp Death Benefits in California

    The amount of death benefits due is determined by the number of dependents. In California, the amounts paid out are:

    • $250,000 for 1 total dependent
    • $290,000 for 2 total dependents
    • $320,000 for 3 or more total dependents

    Death benefits are usually given in installment payments until the full amount is reached, with installments totaling no less than $224 per week. Additional amounts are awarded for partial dependents if there is only one total dependent or less. If there are no total dependents, partial dependents are entitled to an amount equal to four times the annual support they received from the deceased worker.

    Benefits for Minor Dependents

    Once these limits have been reached, minor dependents will continue to receive periodic payments equal to the amount of weekly temporary disability benefits that the worker would have received if they had lived. These payments can be no less than $224 per week and are split evenly among minor dependents until the last dependent turns 18.

    Lost a Loved One? We Can Help

    Losing a loved one in a fatal workplace accident can be a devastating experience. At The Bridgeford Law Office, we understand what you are going through and can provide the compassionate representation you need to move forward.

    With more than 75 years of collective experience handling California workers’ compensation law, we can help you pursue the full benefits you deserve.

    If you want to talk to one of our Santa Clarita work accident lawyers about recovering compensation for your loved one’s death at work, call (661) 771-3004 today.


    A Firm You
    Can Rely On

    • 19 Years of Experience in the Santa Clarita Valley in Your Corner

    • Attorneys Allen and Bridgeford Are Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialists by the Board of Legal Specialization of the State Bar of California

    • Open Lines of Communication and Direct Attention from Our Dedicated Attorneys

    • Personalized Legal Care Where We Treat All Clients Like Family

    • We Take the Time to Listen to Your Needs During a Confidential Initial Assessment

    Client Testimonials

    • Very pleased with this Law Office

      “Very pleased with this Law Office for Workmans Comp representation. Work hard and not a dime out of pocket. Would highly recommend”

      Joel C.

    • They are exceptional at what they do.

      “I was a client for this law office a few years ago. I have nothing bad to say about Mr. Allen as well as Mr. Bridgeford. They are exceptional at what they do. I thank you all for helping when I needed it most!”

      Wendy G.

    • He is without a doubt the finest work comp attorney in So. CA

      “I had the good fortune to choose Mr. Bridgeford to handle my work comp case...Not only is he an EXTREMELY skilled lawyer who prevented the insurance company from doing various nasty things to me, but his caring, legal expertise & wonderful staff prevented all of it from happening and the outcome of the case was better than I ever could have hoped for...He is without a doubt the finest work comp attorney in So. CA and if you need a great one, then he's DEFINITELY the right man with the right staff for the job...Despite this being a very complex case with 4.5 years of litigation, they were always very attentive to my needs and most definitely saw that justice was done...I have heard many stories of work comp clients getting screwed over and Mark made sure that that did not happen in my case...You will not regret choosing him...I will be eternally grateful to Mark and the entire staff of Bridgeford Law...”

      David F.

    • At least this new year will be starting on a far better note than last year at this time.

      “At least this new year will be starting on a far better note than last year at this time. Thanks to your efforts this year at least my bills are paid, my medications are here, I'm not facing eviction and there's even plenty of food in case I get an appetite despite the pain. Thanks and have a great holiday!”


    • The Bridgeford Law Office has gone above and beyond!

      “The Bridgeford Law Office has gone above and beyond! Mark and his team has worked hard on getting treatment for my injury. If a procedure was denied by the insurance company, Mark and Emily are ready to work on getting medical care approved. I highly recommend this office for anyone who has a work related injury. Thank you Bridgeford Law Office for taking care of my claim.”

      Jose V.

    Ceiling Lamp It's Never Too Late or Too Early
    to Seek Legal Advice

    Our firm is here for you when you need us. Connect with us at any time.

    Turn to The Bridgeford Law Office, APC.<

    Meet Your Team

    • Mark K. Bridgeford
      Mark K. Bridgeford Founding Attorney
    • Gary W. Allen
      Gary W. Allen Senior Associate Attorney
    • Emily C. Peterson
      Emily C. Peterson Associate Attorney
    • Zachary Bridgeford
      Zachary Bridgeford Associate Attorney
    • Mark K. Bridgeford Founding Attorney
      Mark K. Bridgeford

      As the founder of The Bridgeford Law Office, Attorney Mark K. Bridgeford brings 40 years of experience to the table in the area of workers’ compensation law. Having established the firm in 1999, our founding attorney is well-versed in this complicated area of the law and is dedicated to helping employees and employers alike. He is a Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialists by the Board of Legal Specialization of the State Bar of California.

    • Gary W. Allen Senior Associate Attorney
      Gary W. Allen

      Attorney Gary W. Allen is a Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialists by the Board of Legal Specialization of the State Bar of California and as such, has an in-depth knowledge of the law and how to apply it to cases involving a range of work injuries. As a Senior Associate Attorney, Mr. Allen often mentors junior attorneys and provides educational assistance to clients and staff in fields ranging from the claims process to the highly complex area of permanent disability ratings.

    • Emily C. Peterson Associate Attorney
      Emily C. Peterson

      Attorney Emily C. Peterson is a devoted workers’ compensation lawyer, standing up for injured workers’ rights across the Greater Los Angeles area. She is also a proud member of the State Bar of California. She received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Georgia School of Law in Athens, Georgia and is devoted to using her knowledge in the best interests of all clients to the firm.

    • Zachary Bridgeford Associate Attorney
      Zachary Bridgeford

      Attorney Zachary O. Bridgeford is the newest addition to The Bridgeford Law Office, APC. He attended California State University, Los Angeles where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in History in 2014. Four years later, he received his Juris Doctorate from Glendale University College of Law where he graduated as the class Valedictorian. He became bar certified in California that same year and has been practicing law in the field of Workers’ Compensation at our firm ever since.


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