When the worst occurs while you’re on the job, what are your rights for death benefits or workers’ compensation? Typically, if the accident, injury or death happens during the normal “course and scope” of your job duties, you’ll be covered under Georgia law.
For example, take this school bus accident that occurred in South Georgia.
On February 25, 2022, police were dispatched to Jewell Crowe Road and Crowe Lane in response to a multi-car accident. There were 5 vehicles involved in the incident, including a school bus.
According to the police report, a Chevy Impala attempted to pass the school bus in a no-pass zone and proceeded to crash head-on into a Ford Edge SUV, which was going in the opposite direction. The Edge came to a total stop and was then hit by a Ford F-250, which projected the SUV into the school bus. Additionally, a Jeep swerved to avoid the accident but instead overturned and landed on top of the original Impala.
All the children on the school bus were inspected for injuries. Thankfully, all of their injuries were only minor. The bus driver also escaped injury. Of the other 4 vehicles, there were 7 passengers, 2 of whom were killed in the tragic accident.
Sylvia Spraggins, a teacher at Worth County High School, was identified as 1 of the deceased. The school expressed sorrow over losing a beloved teacher and coworker.
Since Mrs. Spraggins was chaperoning a field trip at the time of the accident, which falls under her duties, her family would be entitled to death benefits.
Death benefits for Georgia families
Before starting settlement negotiations in a death benefits claim, all potential dependents of the deceased need to be identified. This may include a spouse, children or, in some cases, parents who were financially dependent on the deceased.
In Georgia, all workers’ comp and death benefits are paid weekly and are equal to two-thirds of the person’s average weekly wage up to a maximum of $575. Georgia has a cap for maximum weekly dependency compensation, which varies depending on when the injury occurred.
If only 1 primary beneficiary exists, that person will be entitled to full compensation. If there is more than 1 beneficiary, the benefits will be split according to rules set up by the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation. In cases where there is a surviving spouse and children, the benefits are usually awarded to the spouse to benefit themself and their children.
Workers’ compensation for injured teachers
Most employees in Georgia are covered under the state’s workers’ compensation laws, meaning they should receive benefits to cover any injuries sustained while working.
Any teacher who sustains an injury at work must inform the school administration about their injury within 30 days. The administration will need to fill out form WC-1 section A and send it to the insurer, who will verify that the information is complete before forwarding it to the State Board of Workers’ Compensation.