According to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), more than 13 people die every single day as a result of work-related illnesses and injuries. In Georgia, injured workers and their families file more than 100,000 workers’ compensation claims each year, more than 100 of which involve workplace fatalities.
If you have lost a loved one on the job, you may be entitled to claim death benefits through workers’ compensation. In this article, we cover (i) who is eligible to receive death benefits, (ii) what death benefits are available, and (iii) how to file a Georgia workers’ compensation death benefits claim.
Who Is Eligible to Receive Death Benefits Through Workers’ Compensation?
As a general rule, death benefits are available whenever a worker would have been entitled to receive benefits directly had he or she survived the illness or injury. Since workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” system in Georgia (meaning that an employer does not have to have caused the illness or injury in order to be liable for workers’ compensation), this includes the vast majority of work-related fatalities.
When a person dies on the job in Georgia, his or her dependents can claim death benefits through workers’ compensation. Anyone who relied heavily on the deceased worker’s income can potentially qualify as a dependent; although, in most cases, dependents fall into two main categories:
- Spouses – Unless you and your spouse had been living separately for 90 days or longer prior to the fatal incident, you will be presumed to be a dependent for purposes of receiving death benefits under workers’ compensation.
- Children – Minor children (under age 18) are automatically classified as dependents. Children between the ages of 18 and 22 can also qualify if they are enrolled in a full-time college, as can adult children with physical and mental disabilities.
What Death Benefits Are Available?
Dependents are eligible to receive two-thirds of the deceased worker’s average weekly wage, subject to a maximum benefit amount of $550.00 per week. For surviving spouses with no children, total benefits are capped at $220,000.00. Otherwise, benefits continue until the surviving spouse remarries or cohabitates with a new partner; or, for children, until they turn 18 (or 22 if they are attending college).
Dependents are also eligible to receive up to $7,500 to pay funeral expenses for their loved one.
How Do I File for Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits in Georgia?
While filing a workers’ compensation claim starts with submitting a Form WC-14 to the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation, there is much more to claiming death benefits than simply filling out a form. At The Law Office of B. Clarke Nash, P.C., we help families throughout Georgia seek death benefits through workers’ compensation. We can make sure that you not only fill out the form properly, but that you avoid the common issues that frequently lead to denial and reduction of claims.
Contact the Law Offices of B. Clarke Nash, P.C. about Your Georgia Workers’ Compensation Claim
If you would like more information about filing for death benefits in Georgia, we invite you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. To speak with Savannah, GA attorney B. Clarke Nash about your claim, call (912) 200-5292 today.