How much does workers’ comp pay for a
workplace fatality in Georgia?
Grief is an important and necessary part of the process following the death of a partner or family member. Unfortunately, life doesn’t stop to allow you time to grieve and important legal matters must be addressed promptly and correctly.
In the event of a workplace accident, one such matter is workers’ compensation death benefits. If your loved one was fatally injured at work or while on the job, our knowledgeable, skilled and compassionate attorneys can help you take the next steps.
The Atlanta, Georgia workers’ compensation attorneys at Gerber & Holder Workers’ Compensation Attorneys have the experience and compassion necessary to handle these serious cases. Our record of securing benefits in survivor claims includes significant financial recovery for cases related to:
- Work-induced heart attack
- Electrical accidents
- Industrial accidents
- Delivery truck, van and car accidents
- Work-related medical conditions
Should your working loved one succumb to an occupational fatality in a construction accident, industrial mishap or a car crash, our experienced attorneys will work hard to obtain the benefits owed to you and your family.
No amount of money can ever replace your loss.
But compensation can help make your family whole again.
Contact us today for your free consultation.
Are You Eligible for Work-Related Death Benefits in Georgia?
Before negotiating a settlement in a workers’ compensation death claim, it is necessary to identify all the potential dependents of the decedent (the person who has died). In doing so, an attorney must ask the following questions:
- What was the marital status of the decedent at the time of death?
- Did the decedent have any children as defined by the Act?
- Who are the decedent’s potential dependents?
Anyone who is considered a worker’s dependent—a person who relied on the worker for financial support—is eligible to receive death benefits. The state of Georgia recognizes two types of dependents or beneficiaries, primary and secondary.
A “primary beneficiary” is considered a total dependent of the person who died and as such, they are entitled to recover all of the weekly dependency benefits under Georgia workers’ compensation law.
Primary beneficiaries can include just two groups of people:
- Spouse. A surviving husband or wife may obtain workers’ comp death benefits under Georgia law. The only exception is if the spouses were living separately for a period of 90 days immediately prior to the accident which resulted in the death of the deceased employee.
- Child/children. According to the Act, a “child” includes biological children, dependent stepchildren, legally adopted children, posthumous children, and acknowledged children born out of wedlock. However, it does not include married children, even those who are under 18 years of age. Thus, the parent/child relationship is not limited by biology.
A secondary beneficiary is any dependent who isn’t a child or spouse of the deceased employee. They don’t have to have a biological connection to the deceased employee. Secondary beneficiaries are entitled to total or partial recovery only if a primary beneficiary waives their rights to benefits or when there are no primary beneficiaries.
Secondary beneficiaries can include:
- Family members (mother, father, grandchild, or grandparent)
A person will only be considered a secondary beneficiary if it can be proven that he or she was wholly or partially dependent on the decedent at the time of the accident, and any such dependency must have existed for a period of at least three months prior to the decedent’s fatal accident.
Quote from an article published by Tom Holder:
The Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act provides that the employee’s dependents may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits when an employee dies as the result of a compensable work-related injury. While determining dependency appears to be a relatively simple matter, in reality, it is perhaps the most complex issue to address when handling a death claim.
Tom Holder is a Founding Attorney of Gerber & Holder Attorney At Law and President of WILG, a national organization of workers’ compensation attorneys.
Our record of winning workers’ compensation cases in Georgia speaks for itself:
Georgia Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits: Amounts & Caps
All workers’ compensation benefits in Georgia, including death benefits, are paid weekly and equal two-thirds of the deceased person’s average weekly wage (up to a maximum of $575) if injured on or after July 1, 2016. The amount of the dependency benefits in Georgia is determined the same way as temporary total disability (TTD).
If there is just one primary beneficiary, then that person will receive the full compensation. If there is more than one primary or secondary beneficiary, then payment will be split as determined by the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation. In cases where there is a surviving spouse and a surviving child or children, the entire benefit is typically paid to the spouse for the benefit of themselves and the children.
A surviving spouse who is the sole beneficiary of the deceased worker may not receive more than $230,000 in total benefits under Georgia law. The maximum number of payments for death benefits is 400 weeks from the date of the fatality, or until the recipient is no longer eligible.
A surviving spouse can receive weekly payments until age 65 or the maximum allowed 400 weeks, whichever is longer. If the surviving spouse remarries or cohabitates with a partner, they will no longer be eligible for benefits.
|Date of Death||Maximum Weekly Payment for Dependency Benefits|
|July 1, 2016 – present||$575|
|July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016||$550|
|July 1, 2013 – June 30, 2015||$525|
|July 1, 2007 – June 30, 2013||$500|
|July 1, 2005 – June 30, 2007||$450|
|July 1, 2003 – June 30, 2005||$425|
|July 1, 2001 – June 30, 2003||$400|
*For a full summary of workers’ compensation provisions provided under Georgia law, see the Benefits Information Quick Reference by the State Board of Workers’ Compensation.
In addition to weekly benefits, other workers’ compensation benefits may be available to surviving spouses, children and other beneficiaries including:
- Funeral/burial expenses (up to $7,500)
- Intentional acts penalty (if the employee’s death was the direct result of an injury intentionally caused by the employer; equal to 20% of the weekly benefit, up to a total penalty of $20,000)
The Clock is Ticking on Your Claim:
Talk to an Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Attorney
In order to obtain death benefits, the eligible beneficiaries and dependents must notify the person’s employer of the employee’s death (if they don’t already know). The employer must then notify their workers’ compensation insurance carrier to begin the benefits process. Any claim for workers’ compensation death benefits must be filed within one year of the fatal workplace accident.
To ensure that you and your family receive full and fair death benefits, it’s important you speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney about your case. The sooner you can start exploring your legal rights, the better positioned you will be to seek the maximum award possible.
Whether you have questions about your eligibility for death benefits or are having difficulty obtaining the benefits you’re owed for the loss of your spouse, don’t wait to contact an attorney. Our Atlanta, Georgia workers’ compensation lawyers will begin working right away on your claim to make sure you and your children aren’t left alone and broke.