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W.Va Mine Fatality Raises Concerns on Worker Safety, Workers Comp Death Benefits

West Virginia Mine Cited Before Fatal Mine Accident, Workers Comp Death Benefits in Question

workers comp death benefitsOn Sunday, March 8th, a mine in West Virginia suffered a fatal accident that killed one worker and injured two others. Workers compensation questions arise, but worker safety is also seriously in question, as investigations reveal that the mine was cited more than a dozen times in just the week prior to the accident.

U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) records online indicate that the Murray Energy’s Marshall County Mine near Cameron received several citations for questions of roof safety according to federal standards. Then, the roof collapsed and killed one worker.

Since the start of 2015, “MSHA inspectors have issued 189 citations to the mine for alleged violations that included coal dust accumulation, hazardous conditions, noise exposure levels, air quality and other safety issues. The mine received 970 citations in 2014.”

Unfortunately, the mine’s citations also raise questions regarding workers comp death benefits, and other safety nets that should exist to help workers. According to a recent investigative report, 33 states have gutted their workers comp legislation, which can mean long-term physical suffering and financial losses for injured workers, and financial instability for families who lost loved ones to industrial or workplace accidents.

In California, North Dakota, West Virginia and Oklahoma, per the report, workers face arbitrary time limits to receive compensation for temporary injuries, which in too many cases take longer to heal than the workers comp laws allow.

The MSHA has also suffered budget cuts in recent years, so with fewer inspectors, mine workers are especially susceptible to accidents and injuries giving rise to a claim for workers comp benefits. This type of industrial job puts workers at risk of both short-term and long-term injury – anything from broken bones to black lung and lung cancer – but with states across the country slashing workers comp benefits without fully eliminating the workers comp programs, injured workers may never be able to return to work, and families of workers who died on the job could suffer financial ruin without death benefits.

Workers Comp Death Benefits in South Carolina

If a loved one died because of a workplace injury, you may be entitled to receive workers comp death benefits. Financial assistance in the form of workers’ compensation benefits will be paid according to the following terms:

  • All workers comp death benefits are exempt from the claims of creditors and all estate taxes.
  • 2/3 of the employee’s weekly wage will be paid to a spouse, or a spouse and dependent children. The weekly benefit will not be less than $75 or more than the annual compensation rate limit. (For 2010, this was $689.71.) The benefits will be paid up to a maximum of 500 weeks with two exceptions: 1. Weekly benefits already paid to the employee (and family) during injury will be subtracted from the death benefit limit. 2. When a spouse remarries, a two-year lump sum is payable to the spouse upon remarriage and weekly benefits cease.
  • Children receive benefits beyond age 19 if disabled, or until age 23 if full-time students.

The Strom Law Firm Helps South Carolina Workers and Their Families File for Workers Comp

In South Carolina, workers comp benefits exist to help SC employees recover from workplace injuries. If you have questions about a potential workers comp claim, or believe your family is eligible for a workers comp death benefits claim, contact the attorneys at the Strom Law Firm today for a free consultation. 803.252.4800



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