What happens when an employee dies on the job and there are no witnesses? Recently, a grocery store employee in Columbus was found deceased inside a walk-in cooler at the store. Although there was video showing the employee entering the cooler, there were no witnesses to anything that may have occurred inside the cooler. This brings up the issue of whether or not the employee’s death is covered under Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws.
In Georgia, a death is generally only compensable following an injury if the death results directly from the injury. Any death, whether instantaneous or not, must result from an injury arising out of and in the course of employment to be compensable. However, when a person is found dead or dying at a place where he might reasonably be expected to be in the performance of his duties, it is presumed that his death resulted from an injury arising out of and in the course of employment. This presumption is available when the deceased employee’s death is unexplained.
The question of whether a worker’s death is related to the work they performed is a question of fact and often depends on the unique circumstances of each case. Consulting with an attorney early in the case can help establish the facts necessary to prove that the employee’s death was work related.