The death of a loved one can be devastating
both personally and financially. Georgia workers’ compensation law
death benefits to surviving dependents when a worker dies instantly in
a work accident; dies after a period of disability following a work
accident; or passes away from the symptoms of an occupational disease.
Georgia workers’ comp death benefits
Workers’ compensation death benefits in
Burial expenses up to $7,500
Regular weekly money benefits to wholly
dependent survivors like spouses, and unmarried children and
stepchildren (under 18; in high school; adult and disabled from working;
or under 22 and full-time postsecondary students)
In certain cases, benefits to partially
In certain cases, eligible dependents may be
identified who are not spouses or children
Limits on dependent spouse death benefits
The death benefits of a surviving husband or
wife of a deceased worker when there are no other dependents will be
capped at $150,000. Spousal death benefits will also cease at age 65 or
after 400 weeks of benefits, whichever provides more total money. Benefits
will stop sooner if the widowed spouse marries again or cohabitates in a
Monetary penalty for intentional employer harm
The death benefits paid to surviving
dependents are increased by a 20 percent penalty if it is found that the
employee’s death was caused by the intentional act of the employer.
Exclusivity of remedy
Normally, workers’ comp death benefits are the
exclusive legal remedy available to the family and dependents of the
victim of a work accident or occupational illness. So long as the fatal
injury or disease was work related or the employee was doing something
that benefited the employer when the injury was incurred, the only remedy
under Georgia law is workers’ compensation and not a wrongful death or
other civil suit.
Obtain legal advice
However, it is important to discuss the
situation with an experienced Georgia workers’ compensation attorney
because in certain specific situations, other remedies may be available.
For example, if a negligent third party caused the accident, like the
manufacturer of a defective piece of work equipment that caused the
accident, a lawsuit may be allowed against the negligent third party; or
if someone willfully harmed the victim for personal, non-work-related
reasons, a separate suit may be available.
In addition, a workers’ comp lawyer can assist
with the filing and appeal of the workers’ compensation death benefit
application. Any Georgian who was dependent on a worker who died from
work-related harm should seek the advice of legal counsel to understand
and pursue eligibility for death benefits from the state and in appeal to
state court, if necessary.