Excluding burial expenses, what is the maximum value of benefits payable in a death claim to “one total and one partial-dependent?” If you need a minute to go look it up, go ahead and research it. We’ll wait.
Did you look it up? Is your answer $290,000? That’s the answer that almost everyone, including judges, comes up with because that sum is what is listed under the DWC’s LC 4702)a)(2) death benefit chart. However, most claims professionals are unaware that the chart is incomplete and thus, inaccurate. The correct answer for one total plus one partial-dependent is $275,000. This one-minute blog may have just saved your company from paying an extra $15,000 for nothing.
LC 4703 limits a partial-dependent to a maximum aggregate death benefit of $25,000. When added to the $250,000 entitlement for one total-dependent, we end up with a sum of $275,000. The $290,000 figure only comes into play when there is one total and two or more partial-dependents. We bet nobody ever told you that. Incidentally, the $275,000 figure was challenged at the board in Davis v. WCAB, (2012) 77 CCC 722 (writ denied), with the $275,000 value being confirmed.