Michael Scott Wyatt died on the job in June while cutting down a tree in Stanley, NC. The 35-year-old Wyatt was employed by Dustin Ellis Logging based in Lincoln County at the time of his death. Wyatt’s death was an accident: the tree he was cutting down hit him and pinned him underneath. Wyatt was dead by the time paramedics arrived.
While nothing can replace the loss of a loved one, workers’ compensation insurance provides death benefits to survivors of fatal injuries. Death benefits are typically paid to support those who were wholly dependent on the employee, as opposed to next of kin, though that is often one and the same. North Carolina law requires that payments be made to the victim’s family for at least 500 weeks following the date of death – in some cases the benefits can also be extended beyond the 500-week period. In addition, funeral expenses up to $10,000 must be provided for the family.
A competent workmen’s comp attorney should be consulted if you or a loved one has suffered a death in the family related to the person’s employment. A workman’s compensation attorney can help you get all the benefits to which you are entitled. Without such help, you may be denied benefits, or see your benefits reduced by aggressive insurance companies.