Two people grieving a wrongful death in Georgia.

Losing a loved one is extremely difficult, especially when a work accident caused their death. If your family member was killed on the job or if they passed away due to a work-related injury, you may be able to pursue Georgia workers’ compensation death benefits.

At Gregory Smith Law, LLC, we realize that no amount of money will make up for the tragic death of your loved one. For many husbands, wives, children and other dependents, the loss of a primary wage earner adds terrible financial stress and uncertainty to an already difficult situation. The compensation you receive from a workers’ compensation death benefits will allow you to focus on grieving and moving forward with your life.

Allow our highly skilled Augusta, GA workers’ compensation lawyers to take care of all aspects of a workers’ comp death claim for you. We are ready to fight for the workers compensation benefits your family deserves. Call today for a free initial consultation.

When the Worst Thing Happens, We Are Your Advocates

At Gregory Smith Law, LLC, we are prepared to become your partner and advocate following a fatal workplace accident. As your skilled and compassionate workers’ compensation attorneys, we will fight to protect your rights in your time of need.

During the initial consultation, we will ensure that you have a complete understanding of the Georgia workers’ comp benefits that may be available to you. We will then commit to pursuing the best possible result on behalf of you and your family.

Who Is Eligible for Workers’ Comp Death Benefits in Georgia?

People eligible to receive workers’ compensation death benefits in Georgia include two types of beneficiaries: Primary and Secondary.

Primary beneficiaries include:

  • Spouse – A surviving wife or husband may obtain death benefits. An exception exists if the spouses were living apart for 90 days immediately before the accident that resulted in the employee’s death.
  • Children – Qualifying children are those younger than 18 or enrolled in high school; those younger than 22 and enrolled in college or another institution of higher learning; and, children older than 18 and incapable of earning a living, due to either physically or mental incapacity.

This includes biological children, adopted children, stepchildren, posthumous children (children born after the employee’s death), and children born out of wedlock who have been acknowledged. Married children are not considered Primary beneficiaries.

Secondary beneficiaries include any dependent who is not a spouse or dependent child of the deceased employee. They are entitled to compensation on the condition the primary beneficiary waives their benefits or if there are no primary beneficiaries.  Secondary beneficiaries typically include parents, grandparents and grandchildren or non-relatives that were partially dependent on the deceased employee for their support.

An individual will be considered a secondary beneficiary only if they can prove that they were somewhat dependent on the deceased worker. The dependency must have existed for at least three months before the accident.

What Benefits are Available in a Georgia Workers’ Comp Death Claim?

When a worker dies as a result of a work-related injury or illness, their surviving dependents may be eligible for workers’ comp death benefits, including:

  • Funeral and burial expenses – Compensation for burial and funeral costs will be provided to the surviving family up to $7,500.
  • Lost wages – Certain dependents can receive income-replacement payments equal to two-thirds of their deceased employee’s average weekly wage, up to a maximum.
  • Medical expenses – It is the responsibility of the employer/insurance company to pay for medical bills incurred by the deceased worker before they passed away. For instance, if a worker slipped and struck their head, causing them to enter a coma and eventually die, the employer would cover the medical bills from the time of the accident until the resulting death.

It’s important to note that compensation for non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering and the loss of enjoyment of life, are not covered by workers’ compensation.

How Long Are the Income Benefits Paid Out?

The length of the weekly death benefit payment depends on the type of dependent seeking compensation and the individual circumstances. For example, a spouse with no children is eligible to receive death benefit payments, up to a certain maximum amount, for up to 400 weeks or until age 65 (whichever is longer).

Qualifying children of the deceased employee can receive benefits until they turn 18 if they are not enrolled in school. If the child is enrolled full-time in school, benefits may continue until age 22. Surviving children with physical or mental disabilities that are unable to work and support themselves may be granted compensation for their entire lifetime.

When Do You Need a Workers’ Comp Attorney to Help with a Death Benefits Claim?

The best way to make sure you get the death benefits you deserve is to retain an experienced Georgia workers’ comp attorney. A skilled lawyer will be able to evaluate the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident and provide you with plenty of valuable information.

Once notified of the employee’s death, the employer must let their insurance company know to start the benefits process. As with any workers’ compensation claim, there are time deadlines for filing the proper legal forms with the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation. It is very important not to delay in retaining an attorney so that no potential dependent is barred from receiving benefits due to the running of the statute of limitations.

Contact a Georgia Workers’ Compensation Death Claims Lawyer

Having an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer handle your case is the most effective way to pursue a claim for death benefits. During these challenging times, you can count on Gregory Smith Law, LLC for the compassionate and skilled legal representation you need and deserve. Our knowledgeable lawyers are ready to review your situation, explain the benefits you are entitled to, and make sure all the critical deadlines are met. If the insurer tries to deny or underpay your valid claim, we’ll be ready to fight for your best interests.

Call now for a free and confidential consultation.