If a loved one lost their life as a result of a workplace injury, the bereaved family has the right to seek workers comp death benefits. An experienced Louisiana workers compensation lawyer can help you file your claim and negotiate with the insurance company.
Here are the most important aspects you need to know on this topic:
Who Is Covered by Workers Compensation in Louisiana?
The basic condition for filing for death benefits is ensuring that the deceased worker was covered by the workers compensation system. In our state most employees are covered. This includes:
- Full time workers
- Part time workers
- Temporary workers
- Seasonal workers
However, it is important to check that the deceased worker was a W-2 employee, not an independent contractor. This category is not covered by workers comp, together with other specific categories, such as:
- Domestic workers
- Estate salespersons
- Public officials
- Volunteer workers
An experienced attorney will help you determine if your loved one was covered by workers compensation.
Who Can File for Workers Comp Death Benefits?
Louisiana law stipulates that legal dependents may file a claim for death benefits. These include:
- a spouse
- children under the age of 18
- children up to 23 years old who are full-time students
- children of any age with disabilities that prevent them from being gainfully employed
- parents, other family members and non-family who partially depended on the deceased worker’s financial support
Duration of Death Benefits
The widow or widower of the deceased worker can receive weekly benefits for life or until they remarry. In this situation, the surviving spouse will receive a lump sum representing the benefits for the next two years, as a final payment.
Surviving children will receive the benefits until they become adults. If they are full-time students, they will continue receiving benefits until they turn 23. Children with physical or mental impairments that prevent them from working will continue receiving benefits beyond the age of 23.
To make sure that you are getting fair benefits for the adequate period of time, hire an experienced Louisiana workers comp lawyer to represent you and protect your rights.
Louisiana Workers Compensation Death Benefits for Legal Dependents
Death benefits include two distinct categories:
- funeral benefit in a fixed amount of $8,500
- a percentage of the deceased employee’s wages as ongoing payment
Unlike in other US states, in Louisiana each category of legal dependents receives a specific percentage of wages, as follows:
- 32.5% for a surviving spouse who is the only dependent or a child who is the only dependent
- 46.25% for a surviving spouse and a child or for two children and no other dependents
- 65% for a surviving spouse and two or more children or for three or more children
If the deceased worker did not have any legal dependents, workers comp death benefits will consist of a one-time payment of $75,000 to:
- The worker’s adult children – biological or adopted
- The worker’s parents, if there are no children
Benefits Payable to Partial Dependents
For partial dependent beneficiaries, such as siblings and adult children, the calculation of eligible benefits is more complex. It takes into consideration the deceased worker’s financial support to them as a percentage out of their wages.
If a worker made $1,000 per week and contributed $100 to an adult child, the percentage of contribution is 10%. As an only child, they would be entitled to get 32.5% of their weekly wages in death benefits, thus $325 per week. Applying the 10% level of contribution to this amount, it results that the adult child would actually receive $32.5 per week.
These are complex calculations, and difficult to make as you are still under the shock of losing a loved one. A diligent attorney will make sure that you get fair benefits.
Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a Louisiana Workers Comp Lawyer!
Applying for workers comp death benefits is a complex process, made more difficult by your grief after a loved one’s untimely death. An experienced Louisiana workers comp attorney will handle your claim competently and with compassion for the difficult period you are going through.
Remember that you only have two years after your loved one’s death to file a claim. We suggest you call as soon as possible to schedule a free case review with us at 504-420-2755!