In a panel decision the WCAB determined that a minor is entitled to the death benefit

The applicant was the minor son of a father who died in a work related motor vehicle accident. His mother was a total dependent. There was a minor daughter of a previous marriage.

A workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ) found the minor son to be a total dependent and awarded him one third of the death benefit. The minor daughter of the previous marriage appealed contending she was entitled to the entire death benefit for minor children. The issue was that the minor son was excluded because his mother was a totally dependent spouse.

The panel decision was split with a dissenting opinion. The majority analyzed Labor Code sections 4703.5 and 3501. They also looked at legislative history and determined that there was nothing intended to deny the special benefit to a totally dependent child who lives with his totally dependent mother. Therefore, the minor son was entitled to the special death benefit.

The dissent would have excluded the minor son based on the statutes.

Case: Maxwell v. Oak River Inc. Co.

Harvey Brown
3501 Jamboree Rd. Suite 602
Newport Beach, CA 92660

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