Nobody wants to think about dying at work, but it can and does happen. In any workplace, accidents can happen and in some cases, these accidents are fatal. A fatal accident is defined as one that results in a victim’s death, either immediately or later as a result of the injuries he or she sustained in the accident.
Although a fatal accident can happen in any workplace, in any industry, some industries are inherently more dangerous than others. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), one in five workplace deaths in the United States occurs in the construction industry.
Just like a worker who is injured on the job can pursue workers’ compensation benefits, the survivors of a worker who dies on the job can pursue death benefits through a death benefits claim with Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation.
Workplace Accidents that Can be Fatal
There are many different ways a victim can die on the job. These include:
- In a fire;
- In a fall;
- In a collision while driving or riding in a company vehicle;
- From contact with heavy machinery; and
- From exposure to toxic substances.
Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits in Georgia
In Georgia, a workplace fatality victim’s dependents can seek death benefits. There are two types of death benefits beneficiaries: primary and secondary.
Primary beneficiaries are the victim’s spouse and minor children. If the victim had a dependent adult child who suffered from a mental or physical disability or was attending college full time and younger than 22, this dependent is also considered a primary beneficiary.
When a victim has one or more primary beneficiaries, all of his or her death benefits go to these beneficiaries. If the victim did not have a spouse or dependent children, any other party who can prove he or she was dependent on the victim can recover death benefits as a secondary beneficiary.
Death benefits are two thirds of the victim’s average weekly wage. They are paid weekly. The amount of compensation beneficiaries receive depends on the date of the victim’s death. For victims who died on or after July 1, 2016, the maximum weekly compensation beneficiaries can receive is $575. Beneficiaries receive benefits for as long as they would have remained dependent on the victim.
If a recipient widow remarries, death benefits terminate. If a widow does not have minor children, he or she can recover a maximum of $230,000 through death benefits. If a widow does have minor children at the time of the death, he or she can receive death benefits for up to 400 weeks or until age 65, whichever comes first.
Work with an Experienced Georgia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If you have lost a loved one in a workplace accident, you could be entitled to death benefits through workers’ compensation. To learn more about pursuing these benefits, contact The Law Office of Rick J. DeMedeiros, P.C. today to schedule your initial legal consultation with us.