In October 2020, an employee of an Atlanta nightclub was shot and killed while working.
On Thursday, October 29 at 2:20 a.m., officers arrived on the scene of the Members Only lounge, a nightclub in northeast Atlanta owned by the rapper 2 Chainz. An employee had been shot in the chest. Though he was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital, sadly the man did not recover from his wound and passed away.
Officer Steve Avery said in an emailed statement: “Preliminary investigation indicated that a dispute arose over admission fees to the nightclub and the victim was shot.”
Later, the victim was identified as 27-year-old Caleb Culbreath.
According to 2020 statistics, this was the 117th homicide in Atlanta this year, whereas last year there were a total of 99. Deadly crime is on the rise for this city and many others around the nation, leading many workers to be increasingly concerned for their safety in the workplace.
So what happens when someone is injured (or worse) on the job? What are their rights to compensation in Georgia if the worst should happen?
Death benefits for Georgia employees
If an employee is injured on the job and passes away due to their injuries, their family members are generally entitled to receive death benefits. These financial benefits provide the surviving family with a weekly check in the amount of two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage. Not every family member is eligible for benefits, however, so it’s important to check with the state’s rules on who qualifies.
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.
If a worker was killed on the job, their spouse or family must file a claim for death benefits within 1 year of the employee’s death.
Workplace violence compensation
There are 2 main qualifiers that must be met for workplace violence to be covered under Georgia’s workers’ compensation statute.
First, the injuries resulting from the assault must have occurred in the scope and course of employment. This is the same for all workers’ compensation claims, but there is a slight difference here. If a personal dispute spills over into workplace violence, it may not be covered.
For instance, if an ex-girlfriend approaches an individual who is working and attacks them on the job, it will probably not be covered because the incident didn’t arise out of the employment; rather, it was personal in nature.
The second issue is that the injured worker must not have been the aggressor in the incident. If an individual attempts to harm a coworker by attacking them, then they are not allowed to recover under the state’s workers’ compensation statute.
The aggressor isn’t necessarily the one who attacks first. The individual who caused the incident is deemed to be the aggressor. If one person uses “fighting words” against their coworker, they might be determined to be the aggressor.