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Where a widow sought workers’ compensation death benefits on behalf of herself and her son—the step-son of the deceased worker—and the widow died while the claim was still pending, the trial court erred when it granted the employer’s motion for summary judgment and held that neither the widow’s estate nor the step-son had standing to sue for benefits. The appellate court indicated that if the widow had been alive, she would have had standing to sue for the benefits to which she was entitled prior to her death. To deny her estate standing to seek benefits simply because she died while the employer was contesting liability would be contrary to the remedial purpose of the workers’ compensation statute. The stepson’s rights to benefits could not be extinguished by his mother’s death. To the extent that he was a statutory dependent of the deceased worker, he could recover benefits. He, therefore, had standing to sue.
Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is the co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).
LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.
See Stamps v. Trinity Marine Prods., Inc., 2016 Tenn. LEXIS 185 (Mar. 22, 2016)
See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 89.02.
Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law.
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