OCGA § 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
(a) 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.
(b) 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.
(c) The compensation provided for in this Code section shall be payable only to dependents and only during dependency.
(d) 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 $150,000.00.
(e) 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.
(f) 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.