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Protecting Maryland's Diverse Families
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Date: Sep 23, 2007
Start Page: B.8

Maryland already has at least one model law to draw on. When an employee dies on the job, the state awards workers' compensation death benefits to anyone who depended on the person who died. Marriage is not a requirement. As far back as 1950, the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that workers' comp is "not a code of morals." Rather, it's designed to economically protect workers and those who depend on them. The legislature should extend this reasoning to other laws. All death benefits should be based on dependency, not marriage. Wrongful-death lawsuits should also be available to anyone who financially depended on the person who died; that's the law now in West Virginia.

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