2021 Georgia Code
Title 34 - Labor and Industrial Relations
Chapter 9 - Workers' Compensation
Article 7 - Compensation Schedules
§ 34-9-265. Compensation for Death Resulting From Injury and Other Causes; Penalty for Death From Injury Proximately Caused by Intentional Act of Employer; Payment of Death Benefits Where No Dependents Found

Universal Citation: GA Code § 34-9-265 (2021)
  1. When an employee is entitled to compensation under this chapter for an injury received and death ensues from any cause not resulting from the injury for which he or she was entitled to compensation, payments of the unpaid balance for such injury shall cease and all liability therefor shall terminate.
  2. If death results instantly from an accident arising out of and in the course of employment or if during the period of disability caused by an accident death results proximately therefrom, the compensation under this chapter shall be as follows:
    1. The employer shall, in addition to any other compensation, pay the reasonable expenses of the employee's burial not to exceed $7,500.00. If the employee leaves no dependents, this shall be the only compensation;
    2. The employer shall pay the dependents of the deceased employee, which dependents are wholly dependent on his or her earnings for support at the time of the injury, a weekly compensation equal to the compensation which is provided for in Code Section 34-9-261 for total incapacity;
    3. If the employee leaves dependents only partially dependent on his or her earnings for their support at the time of the injury, the weekly compensation for these dependents shall be in the same proportion to the compensation for persons wholly dependent as the average amount contributed weekly by the deceased to the partial dependents bears to the deceased employee's average weekly wages at the time of the injury; and
    4. When weekly payments have been made to an injured employee before his or her death, compensation to dependents shall begin on the date of the last of such payments; but the number of weekly payments made to the injured employee under Code Section 34-9-261, 34-9-262, or 34-9-263 shall be subtracted from the maximum 400 week period of dependency of a spouse provided by Code Section 34-9-13; and in no case shall payments be made to dependents except during dependency.
  3. The compensation provided for in this Code section shall be payable only to dependents and only during dependency.
  4. The total compensation payable under this Code section to a surviving spouse as a sole dependent at the time of death and where there is no other dependent for one year or less after the death of the employee shall in no case exceed $270,000.00.
  5. If it shall be determined that the death of an employee was the direct result of an injury proximately caused by the intentional act of the employer with specific intent to cause such injury, then there shall be added to the weekly income benefits paid to the dependents, if any, of the deceased employee a penalty of 20 percent; provided, however, such penalty in no case shall exceed $20,000.00. For the purpose of this subsection, an employer shall be deemed to have intended an injury only if the employer had actual knowledge that the intended act was certain to cause such injury and knowingly disregarded this certainty of injury. Nothing in this subsection shall limit the effect of Code Section 34-9-11.
  6. Each insurer or self-insurer which, in a compensable death case, finds no dependent or dependents qualifying to receive dependency benefits shall pay to the State Board of Workers' Compensation one-half of the benefits which would have been payable to such dependent or dependents or the sum of $10,000.00, whichever is less. All such funds paid to the board shall be deposited in the general fund of the state treasury. If, after such payment has been made, it is determined that a dependent or dependents qualified to receive benefits exist, then the insurer or self-insurer shall be entitled to reimbursement by refund for moneys collected in error.

(Ga. L. 1920, p. 167, § 38; Ga. L. 1922, p. 190, § 4; Ga. L. 1923, p. 92, § 4; Code 1933, § 114-413; Ga. L. 1939, p. 234, § 1; Ga. L. 1949, p. 1357, § 3; Ga. L. 1955, p. 210, § 4; Ga. L. 1963, p. 141, § 9; Ga. L. 1968, p. 3, § 3; Ga. L. 1973, p. 232, § 6; Ga. L. 1974, p. 1143, § 9; Ga. L. 1975, p. 190, § 6; Ga. L. 1982, p. 3, § 34; Ga. L. 1983, p. 700, § 2; Ga. L. 1985, p. 727, § 11; Ga. L. 1988, p. 660, § 1; Ga. L. 1992, p. 1942, § 23; Ga. L. 1995, p. 642, § 11; Ga. L. 1996, p. 1291, § 13; Ga. L. 1998, p. 1508, § 8; Ga. L. 1999, p. 817, § 9; Ga. L. 2000, p. 1321, § 7; Ga. L. 2004, p. 631, § 34; Ga. L. 2006, p. 676, § 4/HB 1240; Ga. L. 2015, p. 1079, § 5/HB 412; Ga. L. 2016, p. 287, § 5/HB 818; Ga. L. 2019, p. 798, § 6/SB 135.)

The 2015 amendment, effective July 1, 2015, substituted "$220,000.00" for "$150,000.00" at the end of subsection (d).

The 2016 amendment, effective July 1, 2016, substituted "$230,000.00" for "$220,000.00" at the end of subsection (d).

The 2019 amendment, effective July 1, 2019, substituted "$270,000.00" for "$230,000.00" at the end of subsection (d).

Cross references.

- Persons presumed dependent, § 34-9-13.

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 1995, p. 642, § 13, not codified by the General Assembly, provides for severability.

Law reviews.

- For article, "Actions for Wrongful Death in Georgia," see 9 Ga. B. J. 368 (1947). For article surveying developments in Georgia workers' compensation law from mid-1980 through mid-1981, see 33 Mercer L. Rev. 323 (1981). For review of 1998 legislation relating to labor and industrial relations, see 15 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 185 (1998). For annual survey of workers' compensation law, see 57 Mercer L. Rev. 419 (2005). For annual survey on workers' compensation, see 65 Mercer L. Rev. 311 (2013). For note on the 1992 amendment of this Code section, see 9 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 285 (1992). For note on the 1995 amendment of this Code section, see 12 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 280 (1995). For comment criticizing Hartford Accident & Indem. Co. v. Braswell, 85 Ga. App. 487, 69 S.E.2d 385 (1952), see 4 Mercer L. Rev. 215 (1952). For comment on Lockheed Aircraft Corp. v. Marks, 88 Ga. App. 167, 76 S.E.2d 507 (1953), see 16 Ga. B. J. 215 (1953).



  • General Consideration
  • Death Arising Out of and in the Course of Employment
  • Determination of Dependency
  • Compensation Awarded


Responsibility for paying medical services for work release inmate.

- Private employer is primarily responsible for payment of medical bills arising from injuries, fatal or otherwise, received by a work release inmate while on the job, but, upon default by the employer, the Department of Offender Rehabilitation (now Department of Corrections) is ultimately responsible for paying for those medical services. 1981 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 81-27.



- Workmen's compensation: effect of divorce on right of spouse or child to compensation, 13 A.L.R. 729.

Workmen's compensation: injury or death due to the elements, 13 A.L.R. 974; 16 A.L.R. 1038; 25 A.L.R. 146; 40 A.L.R. 400; 46 A.L.R. 1218; 53 A.L.R. 1084; 83 A.L.R. 234.

Workmen's compensation: injury or death to which preexisting physical condition of employee causes or contributes, 19 A.L.R. 95; 28 A.L.R. 204; 60 A.L.R. 1299.

Workmen's compensation: death from heart disease, 19 A.L.R. 110; 28 A.L.R. 204; 60 A.L.R. 1299.

Workmen's compensation: death or injury while traveling as arising out of and in the course of employment, 20 A.L.R. 319; 49 A.L.R. 454; 63 A.L.R. 469; 100 A.L.R. 1053.

Constitutionality of provision of Workmen's Compensation Act for contribution to general fund in absence of dependents of deceased workman, 20 A.L.R. 1001; 35 A.L.R. 1061.

Survival of right to compensation under Workmen's Compensation Acts upon the death of the person entitled to the award, 24 A.L.R. 441; 29 A.L.R. 1426; 51 A.L.R. 1446; 87 A.L.R. 864; 95 A.L.R. 254.

"Dependency" with Workmen's Compensation Act, 35 A.L.R. 1066; 39 A.L.R. 313; 53 A.L.R. 218; 62 A.L.R. 160; 86 A.L.R. 865; 100 A.L.R. 1090.

Workmen's compensation: double compensation to dependents in case of death of two or more, 45 A.L.R. 894.

Change of status as regards relationship or dependents after injury as affecting compensation to employee under Workmen's Compensation Act, 73 A.L.R. 1016.

Right to woman who marries injured workman to compensation as his widow or surviving wife under Workmen's Compensation Act, 98 A.L.R. 993.

Workmen's compensation: release or waiver of claim by employee as affecting right of dependents in event of his death as result of injury, 101 A.L.R. 1410.

Construction and application of provisions of Workmen's Compensation Act for additional compensation because of failure to comply with specific requirement of statute or regulation by public for protection of workmen, 106 A.L.R. 74.

Workmen's compensation: amount paid to workman on account of accident or disability, or period during which such payments were made or employee worked, as deductible in computing amount payable in event of his death, 115 A.L.R. 900.

Amount recoverable under loss of member or vision clauses of accident insurance, 44 A.L.R.2d 1233.

Validity, construction, and application of workers' compensation provisions relating to nonresident alien dependents, 28 A.L.R.5th 547.

Right to workers' compensation for injury suffered by employee while driving employer's vehicle, 28 A.L.R.6th 1.

Right to workers' compensation for physical injury or illness suffered by claimant as result of nonsudden mental stimuli - compensability under particular circumstances, 39 A.L.R.6th 445.

Right to compensation under state workers' compensation statute for injuries sustained during or as result of horseplay, joking, fooling, or the like, 41 A.L.R.6th 207.

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