Woman sues for death benefits

If a person is killed while on the job, many places offer some sort of death benefits for the families of workers who are killed. Police officers, fire fighters and other jobs that are considered high risk offer these benefits, plus additional benefits that can be purchased. The intent is for these benefits to replace the income of the person who was killed, making financial issues one less thing for a grieving family to worry about. Sometimes, however, either a company or more likely, its insurance company, does not want to pay out on a benefit. When that happens, a wrongful death suit can be filed. It's not to necessarily sue the company, but to force the insurance company to pay. Ponca City readers might be interested to hear how a woman in another part of the state is dealing with such an issue.

A widow is suing the city of Oklahoma City for the remainder of death benefits she believes she is owed. Her husband, a recruit for the Oklahoma City Police Department, died after he struck his head during training in October.

The man had opted for the supplemental insurance that paid twice the employee's annual income. However, to obtain the additional coverage, an additional questionnaire was required. Authorities communicated this to the man, but when the man requested the form, the form could not be located, and authorities stated that they would get the form to the man. Later, both the recruit and his wife would attempt to get a copy of the form, but the man died before the form was received.

Because the insurance company did not receive the form, they only paid the widow, who has two children, $81,000 and did not pay for the additional year of income. The woman is seeking the additional $41,000 because according to her suit, the form was not presented to them.

The city is currently reviewing the case and the recruit's personnel file. If additional information is needed for an employee, it falls to the employer to ensure the employee has that particular form. If they fail to do so they could be found at fault. Anyone who is facing such a tragedy has the right to seek compensation. An experienced legal professional can help a person determine is this is the right approach for the situation.

The Oklahoman, "Widow seeks insurance benefits after Oklahoma City police training accident" William Crum, Nov. 08, 2013

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