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How do death benefits work for the LHWCA?

Friends and family members of Louisiana maritime workers prefer not to think about the possibility that their loved ones might not make it back home one night. Unfortunately, these are high-risk environments that could lead to severe injuries or fatal diseases.

If you are a close family member of a maritime contractor or oil rig worker, you should learn about your eligibility for Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) benefits. As difficult as it is to think about, knowing how these benefits work can help you financially recover from tragedy.

Who is eligible?

The death benefits written in section 909 of the LHWCA primarily focus on surviving widows and children of the deceased.

Most divisions of the death benefits are dependent upon the widow’s marital and financial status and if they have children with or without a second parent. If the victim has no surviving widow or children, then the average weekly wages can go to parents, siblings or other relatives.

To see if your relationship to the worker makes you eligible, check section 152 of title 26 of the United States Code.

When do you file a claim?

The process for providing a notice of the worker’s death is nearly identical to giving an update on an injury. You need to supply the notice within 30 days after the death to the deputy commissioner in the compensation district and to the worker’s employer.

You can file claims for compensation within one year of the death or two years for occupational diseases.

What do you get?

On top of covering funeral expenses up to $3,000, the LHWCA also benefits widows and children with certain percentages of the worker’s average weekly wage.

If the deceased has a widow with no children (or one child with no widow), the survivors will receive 50 percent of their average weekly wage. If the worker has a widow with children or more than one child without a widow, they will receive up to 66 and 2/3 percent of their average weekly wage.

However, the amount can vary based on your relationship to the worker and if you are financially dependent upon their death. If you have any further questions on death benefits from the LHWCA, an experienced attorney can help you determine your eligibility and how much of your loved one’s average weekly wages you would receive.

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