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Who pays for the funeral of a worker who dies on the job?

On Behalf of | Nov 14, 2023 | Workers' Compensation |

Workers’ compensation coverage is often the furthest thing from someone’s mind when they receive a call from a loved one’s employer. Although it is rare, individuals in a variety of professions sometimes experience incidents on the job that prove fatal. People in construction may fall from a significant elevation. Commercial drivers get into crashes, and factory workers end up hurt or killed by machinery malfunctions.

Someone who is still trying to comprehend the shocking news that an immediate family member has died on the job will have many challenges to overcome as a result of that reality. Every aspect of their daily life will probably change, and their household finances may also become far more difficult to manage. In addition to losing their loved one’s income, the family will also need to plan for memorial services and the burial of their loved one. Who has the responsibility to pay for burial costs after a workplace fatality?

Workers’ compensation can help with burial expenses

Contrary to what many people believe, families don’t automatically have to absorb the cost generated by a fatal incident on the job. They can turn to Iowa workers’ compensation for several different, valuable forms of coverage. Workers’ compensation can help cover the costs of any medical care someone required before they died. There will also be death benefits that help replace their income. Provided that someone has a surviving spouse or children, such benefits can make a major difference to the household after an unexpected work incident.

There are also benefits that apply to burial costs. The current rule for burial expenses does not impose a set amount. Instead, employers or their workers’ compensation insurance companies will need to cover reasonable burial expenses. The state currently defines reasonable as no more than 12 times the average weekly wage in the state at the time of someone’s death. As of 2023, the average weekly wage reported in Iowa is $1,040.56. Therefore, the maximum amount an employer would likely pay for funeral expenses would be $12,486.72.

Managing a claim while grieving is hard

Navigating the workers’ compensation system in Iowa is difficult even when the injured worker is the one seeking benefits. When people dealing with the psychological trauma of a sudden loss have to file a claim, the process can be incredibly difficult to manage. As a result, seeking legal guidance can make a major difference for those grieving a loved one due to an incident at their place of employment.


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