Children of Deceased Worker Compensated Following a Death Benefit Claim

PUBLISHED 24 Aug 2012

A claim for benefits under the workers compensation scheme was commenced on behalf of adult children of the deceased.

The deceased had sustained injuries in consecutive years during the course of his employment with the employer. The first injury had occurred in October 2000 and thereafter further injuries in February 2001 and January 2002. Resulting from these injuries, the deceased developed infections and poor blood circulation at the injured site of the toes and feet.

Over a period of time and following several surgical procedures which required amputations of toes and then part of his right leg, the deceased’s condition became gradually worse. He was hospitalised in late 2010 and due to a decline in health he suffered from kidney failure, which unfortunately led to his death.

The workers compensation scheme allows benefits for a surviving dependant following the death of worker in instances where work was a substantial contributing factor. In most circumstances the dependant would usually be a dependant spouse.

In this claim our firm was contacted by three of his adult biological children who had survived him. Though concerned about the prospects of the claim (as claims for dependent children are generally made on behalf of infant children) we proceeded with a death benefit claim on behalf of the adult children. Our first step was to lodge an urgent reply in the Workers Compensation Commission but in order to do so we needed to establish dependency. Immediate action was taken to obtain statements and statutory declarations for submissions to be lodged. Other legal agreements, accounts and personal letters were commissioned to satisfy the Commission that these children remained in some respect, dependant upon their father at the time of his death.

The three siblings had always been in the care of their deceased father during their childhood, as their mother had left the family home at the time when the three brothers were still very young. Their father had taken wonderful care of the children on his own, showing his children love and providing appropriate nurture throughout their youth until adulthood.

As in all death claims, a surviving spouse would usually benefit from entitlements under the workers compensation scheme as a dependant. The next in line would be young children of the deceased ranging from 16 years of age and under. In has been proven to be difficult in the past for even younger children to achieve a satisfactory result of monetary compensation when competing against a surviving spouse. Despite this, the claim proceeded and after a four hour conciliation process, the claim did settle and compensation for the siblings was achieved.

The result was a satisfactory one for the siblings even though they are adult children. Adult children would not usually be considered as dependants, and dependency is a requirement in these types of claims.

From the start, success was very doubtful however, with persistence and the drive to ensure a positive outcome, a positive outcome was indeed achieved.

That’s what we do here at Gerard Malouf & Partners, we fight the fight that we have to fight, to win the fight. For us winning is no accident.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.