Woman loses Workers’ Comp case in Alaska Supreme Court over daughter’s death!

Here is a link to a case out of the Alaskan Supreme Court holding that their death benefit scheme is constitutional, and depriving the mother of the now-deceased worker from suing the company that was responsible for her daughter’s death.

This is actually fairly similar to Oregon law.

First, Oregon, like Alaska and like every workers’ compensation system, is an exclusive remedy. If you have a workers’ compensation claim, you may not sue your employer for the employer’s negligence. That reduced remedy also extends to co-employees, the workers’ compensation insurer, and so forth.

Under Oregon law, if a worker dies as a consequence of something that happens at work, they are entitled to limited benefits. If the person has a spouse, the spouse is going to get 4.35 times 66 2/3 percent of the state’s average weekly wage at the time of death. That goes away if the spouse remarries. There is an increase in benefits if the worker is also survived by dependents, then those dependents can receive benefits as well.

If there are no dependents, however, the insurer is obligated to pay the cost of final disposition of the body and funeral expenses, including but not limited to transportation of the body, and shall be paid not to exceed 20 times the average weekly wage in any case.

If after 60 days there is any part of that benefit remaining, then the unpaid amount shall be paid to the estate of the worker.

A dependent means any of the following-named relatives of a worker whose death results from injury: Parent, grandparent, step-parent, grandson, granddaughter, brother, sister, half-sister, half-brother, niece, or nephew, who at the time of the accident are dependent in whole or in part for their support upon the earnings of the worker.

The reality is that if a young person dies leaving no spouse or children, the cost to the insurer of that work-related death is very very low.

~Chris Moore
Moore & Jensen

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2018-09-26T15:32:03+00:00