Where should I file my claim for death benefits under the U.S. LHWCA? My husband was a ship mechanic based on the Houston ship channel, but he died in an accident working on a crane on an offshore oil platform. | DENENA | POINTS

Houston maritime injury attorney responds that the estate of a worker covered by the LHWCA might bring a claim based on wrongful death under general maritime law if the accident happened within state waters. If the accident occurred farther out to sea, the estate might have a cause of action under the Death on the High Seas Act.

(A wrongful death cause of action arises where the fatal injury is caused by the negligence of another party.) The estate might sometimes be able to pursue a statutory claim against a vessel for wrongful death based in negligence. This action would arise where the vessel was found to be unseaworthy in some way.

In some cases where the death occurs outside the maritime jurisdiction of any court, the estate could file a claim under an individual state’s wrongful death statute. The individual states generally also permit survival claims on behalf of the decedent, though general maritime law does not.

In any event, the family members that are eligible as beneficiaries under your husband’s LHWCA coverage are entitled to receive statutory death benefits. These benefits, as with other types of workers’ compensation benefits, consist of a percentage of his wages plus reasonable funeral expenses.

You are not without recourse following the death of your loved one. You might be entitled to the LHWCA death benefits as well as to a recovery from a wrongful death claim. No amount of money or benefits can ever replace a lost spouse. But the benefits and wrongful death recovery could help you to provide for your family going forward.

To fully determine the extent of your available remedies and benefits, our Houston maritime injury attorneys would need to learn more of the specific facts and circumstances surrounding your husband’s accident and fatal injury. We offer a free and confidential legal consultation to answer lingering questions you may have. Call our Houston maritime injury attorneys at your convenience or click the links on our website for live chat or e-contact.