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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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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