Missouri Death Benefits & Workers’ Compensation

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In the state of Missouri, employees that die as a result of performing their regular job functions (including workplace accidents and diseases contracted from doing their jobs) are entitled to burial expenses (up to $5,000) and weekly benefits (the payments are divided equally among those eligible to receive it).

If the deceased was married at the time of the accident, the spouse will receive benefits; if the deceased had children under the age of 18 (or, if the child is under age 22 and still enrolled in school or has enlisted in the armed forces), they will also receive benefits until they are no longer eligible to receive them. When a surviving spouse remarries, they are no longer entitled to benefits. If the deceased was not legally married and had no children under age 18 or 22, then the employer is not obligated to pay anything more than the maximum $5,000 for the burial unless someone comes forward with proof of dependence upon the deceased.

Eligibility for Benefits

Employers and insurers are legally obligated to report within 30 days incidents that resulted in any employees’ injury or death on the job. After the employer or insurer reports knowledge of the injury or death to the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC), the Division will contact any and all dependents of the deceased to notify them of their legal rights, including the benefits to which they may be entitled.

When an employee has a work-related injury or death, certain individuals may be entitled to benefits. This includes employees that die as a direct result of the injury and those that suffer a “permanent partial disability” or “permanent total disability” from the injury but later die from some other cause.

Survivors’ Benefits

When an employee dies as a direct result of a workplace accident, the employee’s family (typically the current spouse and any dependent children) can get weekly benefits from the employer or insurer. Along with funeral expenses of up to $5,000, the employer or insurer will pay survivors a weekly death benefit, set at 66.67 percent (or 2/3) of what the deceased was earning.

When the employee dies from another cause (i.e., they suffered a permanent partial disability or permanent total disability but dies from something unrelated to the job accident), survivors usually receive the accrued benefits of their deceased loved one. It’s a complicated matter, so if you have questions about receiving benefits after your loved one died after a work-related accident, you should discuss your case with a knowledgeable attorney who can thoroughly explain and clarify the laws for you.

Claiming Survivors’ Benefits

If your loved one died as a result of a workplace accident, and you think you should get benefits, your loved one’s employer should contact you, but if they fail to do so, you should contact the employer or their workers’ compensation insurance company. You might also need to file a Workers’ Compensation claim, but before you file anything, you may want to consider hiring an attorney to help you, and to explain the options available to you, given your specific situation. If the employer or insurance company refuses to pay you in a reasonable time, you can contact the Dispute Management Unit of the DWC.

Disputes Over Survivors’ Benefits

Workplace accidents aren’t always accidents – sometimes they happen when a worker has used drugs or alcohol or when coworkers are innocently teasing each other. A workers’ compensation or death benefit amount may be less than you anticipate. If this is an element in your case, you may need to have your case heard before an administrative lawyer at an evidentiary hearing; this is another good circumstance when it may benefit you to hire an attorney.

Workers Killed In The Line Of Duty

Survivors of first responders and law enforcement personnel may claim benefits under one the following circumstances:


  • Someone else’s violent actions caused the death
  • The person died while performing their job duties
  • The person died while traveling to or from their job
  • The person died while they were on duty, but taking a meal break
  • The person suffered injuries that most likely caused their death
  • The person died within 300 weeks of the injury


Please note that this does not include any circumstances where the death resulted from the deceased individual’s willful misconduct, nor does it include any time when the deceased person’s intoxication lead them to act in a way that caused their death. Specific jobs that may put the employee at an increased risk of workplace deaths include firefighters, emergency medical personnel, doctors, nurses, and law enforcement officers.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits In Missouri

In addition to workers’ compensation and death benefits, if a third party had some influence or involvement in your injury or your loved one’s on-the-job death, you might be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If you are considering this as an option, you should call an experienced attorney near you today; they will help you understand your options, the process, and what steps you need to take to get the compensation you deserve.


If you were injured or your loved one was killed on the job, call an attorney near you today; Walton Telken helps the families of severely injured and deceased employees get the financial compensation they need and deserve in order to get back on their feet and resume their normal lives. It’s of the utmost importance to call as soon as possible, as evidence could be lost with each passing day. If traveling to us causes any undue burden or stress, we can travel to meet with you instead. Call us today toll free at (844) 307-7349 to discuss the details of your case and talk to an attorney about the legal options available to you.


The information provided by Walton Telken, LLC in this Blog is not intended to be legal advice, but merely provides general information related to common legal issues. This Blog, and the information contained within it, is Attorney Advertisement. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Past results afford no guarantee of future results. Every case is different and must be judged on its own merits.

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