Death Benefits in Illinois Workers’ Compensation

Jay Johnson

Each year, thousands of people die as a result of work related accidents throughout the country.  In Illinois, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act protects the families of victims of such devastating events by mandating life supporting benefits to the victim’s survivors.

The first death benefit is the payment of medical bills related to the life-ending injury.  The employer must pay these charges. A family suffering from such devastating loss are not stuck with mountains of bills that may have been incurred during life-saving efforts.

The second death benefit that Illinois law mandates is the payment of burial expenses.  Illinois law requires that the employer pay $8,000.00 for these expenses.

The final death benefit that Illinois law mandates is weekly compensation.  The surviving spouse and children of a worker killed in a work related accident generally are entitled to weekly benefits of 2/3 of the victim’s average weekly wage.  The benefit continues for 25 years or $500,000.00, whichever is greater.

In the event that a spouse remarries, he or she is entitled to an immediate two-year lump payment.  The weekly death benefits end.  The surviving children are entitled to benefits until they turn 18 years of age.  If they are enrolled as a full-time student, they are entitled to benefits until the age of 25.

In certain circumstances, dependent parents or other dependents also may be entitled to death benefits. 

Workplace fatalities are not limited to traumatic events.  Workplace fatalities also can be caused by exposures to environmental toxins such as chemicals, radioactive agents, and coal dust.  Heart attacks and strokes that lead to death, even in people who may have had preexisting (conditions), are work related if some factor of the victim’s job, such as exposure to extreme temperatures or physical activity, (brought on) the heart attack or stroke. Importantly, for first responders or essential workers that die from COVID-19, Illinois law presumes that such workers got the virus from their workplace exposure.  The families of these workers are entitled to the same death benefits.

Wrongful Death Attorneys

Contact our team to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced and compassionate wrongful death attorneys. Call (630) 585-2320 or fill out an online contact form to get started.


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