Survivor Benefits Under Industrial Insurance Act—Who Pays?

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Employers are covered under the Washington Industrial Insurance Act, which provides benefits for on-the-job injury or disease and payments to spouses as survivor benefits. In certain

situations, a worker who has worked for two separate employers may be eligible to recover multiple benefits, and the question of which entity is responsible for the survivor benefits is the

issue – i.e., who pays? This was recently addressed in Olson v. Dept. of Labor & Industries, 161 Wn. App. 443 (2011), in which a surviving spouse sought declaratory judgment that the Department of Labor and Industries (“L&I”) was responsible in conjunction with the federal government for death benefits payable upon her husband’s death (which was caused by prolonged exposure to asbestos).

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