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Fallen Firefighters: Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Surviving Family Members

Surviving family members of fallen firefighters in Nevada are entitled to recover several death benefits that can help them move forward following their loss. When firefighters lose their lives as a result of their service to the public, legislators have taken steps to provide their families with the funds they need to support them. Understanding these benefits and the requirements for collecting compensation is crucial. A firefighter accident lawyer in Nevada can help the surviving family navigate their claim.

Death Benefits

Family members are entitled to recover up to $10,000 in reimbursement for the cost of transporting remains and burial expenses. Further, the surviving spouse is entitled to receive 66.66% of the average monthly wage for the rest of his or her life. This benefit is not reduced if the surviving spouse remarries in the future.

Firefighters in the United States suffer a fatality rate of 2.2 deaths per 1,000 fires and just under 10 injuries per 1,000 fires. When structure fires are involved, that rate rises to 7 deaths per 1,000 fires and just under 30 injuries. The risks are real and Nevada is working hard to increase the benefits for these individuals. 

The dependent children of deceased firefighters in Nevada are also entitled to receive benefits. If the deceased leaves a spouse and children, then the spouse receives 33.33% of the average wage (up to a statutory “maximum wage”), while the children share proportionally the remaining 33.33%. In the event the deceased was unmarried but had children, the surviving children will share proportionally the full 66.66%.

However, unlike spouses, the benefits for surviving children do expire when the child passes away, gets married, or reaches the age of 18. However, if the surviving child is enrolled as a full-time student at a university or within a vocational program, these benefits continue until the age of 22 is reached. Finally, if a disability prevents surviving children from supporting themselves, the benefits can be continued.

Lastly, if the firefighter did not have a spouse or children, the benefits can be received by dependent parents or dependent siblings. These individuals can receive up to 33.33% of the firefighter’s average monthly wage. The final group of beneficiaries is partial dependents. In these instances, the partial dependent can recover compensation based on the dependency upon the deceased. 

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