In addition to the devastating emotional consequences of losing a loved one in a workplace accident, fatal on-the-job injuries can lead to an overwhelming financial burden for affected families, which can be particularly crippling if the deceased worker was the primary wage earner for the family. Fortunately, the surviving family members of a deceased worker may be entitled to critical death benefits for the loss of their loved one, which they can pursue by filing a Georgia workers’ compensation claim with the employer’s insurance carrier. If you lost a loved one in a workplace accident in Georgia, contact our knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyers at Rechtman & Spevak to explore your compensation options.
How Death Benefits are Awarded in Georgia
If an employee is killed in an on-the-job accident in Georgia, or dies as a result of an injury or disease sustained at work, the employer’s insurance carrier is required to pay up to $7,500 in burial expenses. In addition, dependents of the worker may also be entitled to the following Atlanta death benefits:
- If the spouse is the sole dependent of the worker, he or she is entitled to up to 400 weeks of weekly benefit payments, equal to the amount the worker would have received if he or she had survived but was totally disabled. The maximum amount a surviving spouse without children can receive is $230,000.
- If the worker has dependent children at the time of his or her death, the children are entitled to receive the weekly benefits until age 18, or up to 22 if enrolled and in good standing at a post-secondary institution of higher education. There is no cap on the amount of benefits a dependent child can receive, and a dependent child over the age of 18 may be entitled to death benefits for life if he or she is mentally or physically unable to earn a living.
- If the deceased worker leaves behind a spouse and children, the weekly benefit will be paid to the spouse for the children’s benefit. If only dependent children remain, the benefits will be divided equally among the children.
- Any other individuals who were wholly or partially dependent on the worker at the time of his or her death, are also entitled to receive up to 400 weeks of benefits if there is no surviving spouse or children. If the dependent individual was only partially dependent on the worker, the weekly benefits may be reduced based on the percentage of dependency. If the employee paid 40% of a parent’s monthly expenses, for example, the parent will receive only 40% of the death benefit payments.
Pursuing Death Benefits Through a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Filing a workers’ compensation claim in Georgia may seem like an easy task, but it can actually be quite complicated, especially while mourning the loss of a loved one in a workplace accident. This unpleasant task can be made even more difficult if you have to deal with an insurance company first-hand. Keep in mind that insurance claims adjusters are trained to save the insurance company money, which they sometimes do by denying valid workers’ compensation claims or by offering death benefit payments far below what a deceased workers’ family is entitled to. Only by hiring an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Atlanta can the families of workers killed in on-the-job accidents ensure that their legal rights are protected when pursuing death benefits in Marietta.
A Georgia Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help
Losing a spouse, parent or child in a workplace accident in Georgia is devastating in and of itself, and the financial consequences of such an accident only compound the emotional response. If your family member was killed in an on-the-job accident in Georgia, consult our skilled workers’ compensation lawyers at Rechtman & Spevak today. Our law firm is located in Atlanta, and our attorneys have years of experience helping injured workers and their families pursue the financial compensation they are entitled to. Don’t let a workers’ compensation insurance company tell you how much you deserve in death benefits; hire our death benefits attorneys to represent your case and fight for the reimbursement you are entitled to.