As reported on kansascity.com, a 21-year-old Store Clerk was fatally shot by a Customer. The murder of the clerk was the result of a currency dispute; the Customer tried to make a cigar purchase with money that was in bad shape. The Clerk refused the payment. According to the account, “the Customer pulled out a gun and demanded the cigar…[and]… The Clerk gave the Customer the cigar and asked him to leave.” The Customer proceeded to fire two shots at the Clerk.
This case will be analyzed under California Law. The reporting on this matter did not speak of any spouse, children or dependents. Thus, this article will discuss what occurs when there is a work-related death without any dependents.
What Happens When There is An Industrial Death When There Are No Beneficiaries?
California Workers’ Compensation Law has a provision that allows for the State of California to receive benefits when an Injured Worker dies without a beneficiary. Labor Code Section 4706.5 provides “(a) [w]henever any fatal injury is suffered by an employee under circumstances that would entitle the employee to compensation benefits, but for his or her death, and the employee does not leave surviving any person entitled to a dependency death benefit, the
employer shall pay a sum to the Department of Industrial Relations equal to the total dependency death benefit that would be payable to a surviving spouse with no dependent minor children.”
In these circumstances, Insurance Carriers will generally conduct an investigation to locate any possible dependents. If there is none, they will be obligated to make payment to the state.