Can Your Family Get Workman’s Comp Benefits if You Die on the Job?

February 21, 2022

It’s an unfortunate fact that some professions can be dangerous, and place workers at risk of catastrophic injuries and even fatal accidents. In 2020 alone, 103 Louisianans died from injuries suffered on the job.

The families of workers killed in work-related accidents deserve time to grieve, but they also have to deal with the pressing financial issue of losing the income necessary to meet their monthly living costs.

In Louisiana, workers’ compensation, also called workman’s compensation, provides death benefits and covers burial costs when workers are killed on the job. If needed, you can also file a personal injury claim if a third party may have been liable. Our Louisiana workers’ compensation lawyers can help you file for the compensation you need to cover your expenses so you and your family can focus on healing from the grief of losing a loved one.

Who Receives Workman’s Comp Benefits?

In Louisiana, workers’ compensation pays weekly death benefits to a worker’s dependents if the worker dies after an accident at work. The following people are considered dependents of the deceased worker:

  • The surviving spouse who was living with the worker when the accident and death occurred
  • Children under 18 years of age
  • Children under the age of 23 who are full-time students in an accredited educational institution
  • Children who cannot earn a living because of physical or mental disabilities
  • Non-relatives who lived with the worker, if they were financially reliant on the deceased

Unfortunately, employers may not be required to pay all dependents equally. If the deceased person’s contributions were a dependent’s only source of financial support, they are eligible for the full amount of available compensation. However, if the dependents only received some of their financial support from the deceased, they are considered “partially dependent” and receive only a proportional amount.

What Death Benefits Are Available to Dependents?

Death benefits are based on a percentage of the deceased worker’s average weekly wage, plus up to $8,500 for funeral expenses. The following calculations determine the payments to the workers’ dependents:

  • Widows/widowers may receive 32.5% of the deceased’s wages.
  • Widows/widowers with a child receive 46.25% of the wages.
  • Widows/widowers with two or more children receive 65% of the wages.
  • If there is no widow/widower but there is a surviving dependent child, he or she is entitled to 32.5% of the wages.
  • If there are two children, they receive 46.25% of the wages.
  • If there are three or more children, they can get 65% of the wages.
  • If there is no widow/widower or children, a dependent parent of the deceased can receive 32.5% share of the wages. If both parents are alive, they can collect 65% of the wages.

If the worker had no dependents but had biological or adopted non-dependent children, the children receive a lump-sum payment of $75,000. This sum is split among the children. When there are no dependents and no biological or adopted non-dependent children, each surviving non-dependent parent receives $75,000.

How Long Are Death Benefits Paid to the Workers’ Dependents?

Survivors of a deceased spouse receive death benefits until they remarry. Upon remarrying, they receive two years of compensation in one lump sum. Children continue to receive benefits until they die, marry, or turn 18. They may receive benefits until they turn 23 if they are enrolled full-time in an accredited school.

Children with mental and physical disabilities that prevent them from earning a suitable living can continue to receive benefits as long as their disability continues. The weekly payments for all other dependents continue only as long as their dependency exists. Payments cease when the dependent passes away, and can’t be willed on to someone else.

Does Workman’s Comp Pay for Pain and Suffering?

Losing a loved one is emotionally devastating, and dealing with everything that comes after can be mentally exhausting. However, Louisiana’s workers’ compensation program does not provide pain and suffering benefits.

If you believe a third party caused your loved one’s fatal injuries and wrongful death, you can file a personal injury claim to receive compensation for your pain and suffering.  Some examples of when a third-party claim would be applicable include if your loved one was killed through the negligence of subcontractor or in an auto accident while working. Our Louisiana personal injury attorneys can evaluate your family’s case.

Hire an Experienced Louisiana Workers Compensation Lawyer

Contact Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers when you need help obtaining death benefits and filing a personal injury claim. If you are having difficulty obtaining the workers’ compensation benefits you’re owed following the death of a loved one on the job, we can help. 

Our attorneys understand the challenges of navigating your financial losses while grieving your loved one. We will handle your case with compassion and can answer questions about the possibility of filing a third-party personal injury claim.