The Supreme Court of Georgia will hear the case of a woman who was denied her late son’s workers’ compensation benefits. The woman was her son’s only heir, but was denied his death benefit because she was not his dependent.
The 37-year-old Cuthbert municipal employee was killed in a mower accident while working in 2010. After she was denied his death benefit, the mother sued the city. The city requested a summary judgment, which was granted in the city’s favor in 2013.
The mother’s lawyer appealed the decision, and the case is now headed to the Supreme Court of Georgia. The lawyer says that the summary judgment was granted before the deadline had passed for him to file his brief opposing the motion. The attorney for the city says that the appeal should be dismissed because the woman’s lawyer has failed to show the unconstitutionality of the provision of the workers’ compensation statute that requires dependency in order to claim death benefits. His position is that workers’ compensation benefits are intended to be paid to dependents of the deceased worker, and the mother of the man was not his financial dependent at the time of his death. Oral argument was scheduled for June 16.
This is a particularly complicated workers’ compensation case that involves the question of whether a particular provision of the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act is unconstitutional. When someone is denied a workers’ compensation claim for any reason, they have a right to appeal. While the average case may not wind up going to the state’s highest court, any workers’ compensation case can involve complexities of the law. An attorney with experience in these matters can assist a client whose claim has been denied.
Source: Albany Herald, “Georgia Supreme Court to hear Cuthbert case”, Jim West , June 11, 2014
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