Workers’ Compensation Death Claims in Georgia

If an employee in the state of Georgia dies as a result of a work-related accident or illness, their loved ones may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits on the employee’s behalf. These workers’ compensation benefits include burial expenses and reimbursement of the deceased worker’s reasonable and related medical bills.

Medical bill expenses are paid directly to medical care providers, and burial expenses are paid directly to funeral service providers. The other benefits will be paid directly to the surviving spouse and eligible dependent children.

Gearhart Law Group Can Help Families Pursue Workers’ Compensation Death Claims

If you have recently lost a loved one due to an on-the-job injury or illness, you should know that you could potentially receive benefits under Georgia workers’ compensation laws. Attorney Beth Gearhart understands how difficult these cases are for families, and she is here to help you navigate the legal issues pertaining to your claim for benefits under Georgia workers’ compensation. Contact Gearhart Law Group today to schedule a free consultation to learn more about how we can help. You can reach us at 404 445 8370.

Who is Eligible for Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits?

Before you begin pursuing a workers’ compensation death claim, you should make sure that you are eligible to receive benefits under Georgia workers’ compensation law. These benefits are payable to the deceased worker’s spouse and qualifying children when the death was a result of on-the-job injuries or a work-related illness.

There are certain conditions that must be met in order for someone to be eligible for death benefits. The surviving spouse will receive benefits for a maximum of 400 weeks, or until age 65 (whichever is longer). However, if the surviving spouse decides to get remarried or cohabitates with a partner, the benefit payments will terminate.

Additionally, dependent children are eligible to receive a share of death benefits. They are eligible as long as they are either younger than the age of 18 or enrolled in high school full time, or younger than the age of 22 and are enrolled full-time in good standing at a university, college, or other forms of a post-secondary higher learning institution.

Children of the deceased worker are also eligible for benefits if they are over the age of 18 and are mentally or physically incapable of earning a livelihood. Children who are married do not qualify for death benefits.

Primary and Secondary Beneficiaries in a Georgia Workers’ Compensation Death Claim

The surviving spouse and minor children are typically considered primary beneficiaries in a workers’ compensation death claim. However, there are some cases in which the deceased worker may not have a surviving spouse or any minor children. In these cases, there may be secondary beneficiaries who may be eligible to receive death claim benefits.

Secondary beneficiaries may include extended family members, such as the deceased employee’s parents, grandparents, or grandchildren. However, in order to qualify for the benefits, these individuals must prove that they were completely or partially supported by the deceased worker. They must also have been receiving financial support from the worker at the time the injury happened or at the time that the illness occurred—and this support must have been ongoing for at least three months prior to the injury or illness event.

What Kinds of Benefits are Paid in a Workers’ Compensation Death Claim?

Georgia workers’ compensation death claim benefits include burial expenses, reimbursement of any medical bills deemed reasonable and related, and also an additional benefit payment for dependent family members. Currently, the maximum benefit for burial expenses is $7,500. This means that burial-related costs will be covered up to $7,500.

This additional payment for the deceased worker’s dependent family members is paid at the rate of two-thirds of the deceased worker’s average weekly wage at the time of the work accident. However, this amount is subject to a maximum rate that varies from year to year.

As of July 1, 2019, a surviving spouse who is a sole dependent at the time of their spouse’s death is eligible for a total compensation sum of $270,000. Additionally, there must also be no other dependent for one year or less after the death in order for the surviving spouse to receive this amount. Prior to this change in the law, the total compensation was $230,000.

How to Move Forward with a Workers’ Compensation Death Claim in Georgia

Hiring an experienced Atlanta workers’ compensation attorney to handle your case is the best way to begin pursuing death claim benefits. Contact attorney Beth Gearhart at Gearhart Law Group today to get started with your case.

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(404) 445 8370

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