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You are here » Home » News » What Rights Does the Family of a Worker Killed in the Workplace Have?

The death of a family member is always a difficult event to deal with. Despite great advances in workplace safety, accidents still happen and sometimes they can be fatal. This is not only a huge emotional burden, but it also can mean financial disaster for a family that relies on the worker for support.

This is especially true in Queensland for high risk jobs such as police, mining, construction and driving occupations.

Dependants including spouses, de facto partners (in some circumstances) and children may be able to make a claim under workers compensation laws in Queensland if a worker dies as a result of a work related accident and injury.

How Do I Make a Fatality Claim under WorkCover Qld

A death in the workplace is always investigated by Workplace Health and Safety Qld. To lodge a WorkCover claim for a workplace fatality, it is best to contact WorkCover Qld directly at 1300 362 128. During this process, it can be difficult to cope so asking a family member or friend for assistance can be a very comforting option that can help you deal with the situation.

What Compensation Can I Receive?

Compensation for dependents of a fatal workplace injury can include lump-sum or quarterly payments, as well as reasonable funeral expenses.

What Documents Will I Need?

To determine the cause of death as well as the relationship and dependency that the applicants have to the deceased person, there are a number of documents that are required:

Medical Evidence: One of the following is required:


  • Autopsy (or post mortem) Report
  • Death Certificate
  • Coroner’s Inquest Report


In some circumstances, WorkCover may also request ambulance, hospital or other records.

Proof of Relationship:

To prove you are a ‘member of the family’ of the deceased worker, you must provide the following information:


  • for a wife/husband—a marriage certificate
  • for a defacto spouse—proof of the defacto relationship for example;
    • joint bank accounts
    • joint ownership of property
    • utilities accounts in both names
  • for a dependent child, whether a child or grandchild of the deceased worker—a birth certificate
  • for a dependent child over the age of 16—proof of full time education
  • for a foster child—relevant documentation from the Department of Children’s Services.


Proof of Dependency:

A ‘reasonable and proportionate’ monetary value of the loss of dependence is needed to prove dependency. The documents that are required include:


  • tax returns for the deceased worker and the applicant for the three years prior to the date of death
  • copies of letters setting out the amount to be paid under a child support order
  • bank statements of both parties to identify:
  • monies being transferred from the deceased person’s account to the applicants account
  • payments for groceries and utilities
  • the level of the applicant’s income.


You may also be asked for a statement covering matters such as:

  • how long the dependency has existed and how it came about
  • the basis for sharing day to day expenses
  • the claimant’s income
  • whether the claimant suffers from any disability
  • the claimant’s estimate of the monetary value of the loss of dependence
  • any proof that the deceased worker was providing monetary support
  • how long the dependency would have continued if not for the worker’s death
  • whether the claimant and the deceased worker jointly own any property.

What are Latent Onset Injuries?

For injuries such as mesothelioma or malignant skin cancer that arise over time, WorkCover needs to know that the deceased person was a worker during the period of exposure. To prove this, documents include:

  • a statement from the applicant about the deceased person’s work history and relevant exposure
  • copies of documents such as articles of indenture or apprenticeship, taxation returns or other financial documents showing payment of wages, union membership during the period of exposure and any other documentation about employment that may be available
  • statements from co-workers (if there is no documentary proof of employment)

Other Documents:

The following may also eventually be requested from WorkCover following a fatal accident:

  • the Will of the deceased person, if applicable
  • Grant of Probate if there is one—this document is issued by the Supreme Court
  • Letters of Administration if there is one—this document is issued by the Supreme Court in circumstances where the person died without a Will.

East Coast Injury Lawyers – Personal Injury Lawyers Brisbane

For more information, please contact East Coast Injury Lawyers.