Workers’ Compensation Claims - Serious & Willful
An employer’s actions are considered severe and willful misconduct when the employer is aware of the hazard and deliberately fails to take corrective action. An injured employee can claim their employer’s actions rise to severe and willful if the employer violates Cal/OSHA safety orders or fails to provide a safe working environment for their employees, as stated in California Labor Code Section 6400. We recommend talking to a Sacramento Workers’ Compensation Attorney if you are uncertain about filing a serious and willful misconduct claim against your employer. A Sacramento workers’ compensation attorney can help you understand the difference between negligence and willful misconduct. We can also explain how to prove severe and willful misconduct and the penalties for serious and willful misconduct. Contact a Sacramento workers’ compensation attorney today to see if you have a case.
Our Sacramento workers’ compensation attorneys get calls daily from injured employees asking if they can sue their employers for negligence. Negligence is the “failure to use reasonable care, resulting in damage or injury to another.”
California is a no-fault workers’ compensation system which means it does not matter who is at fault for a work-related accident. Your workers’ compensation attorney does not have to prove negligence on the part of your employer for you to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. It also means that injured employees generally cannot sue their employers for negligence because negligence does not typically allow an injured employee to receive extra help.
This system generally works well because it speeds up the workers’ compensation process, so you get benefits as soon as possible. It also helps prevent unnecessary lawsuits. It is important to note that sometimes you can waive your right to sue your employer when you file a workers’ compensation claim.
However, if you believe your accident resulted from something more severe than negligence, you may be able to file a serious and willful misconduct case. To obtain a serious and willful misconduct award, you and your attorney must prove that your employer’s actions contributed to the accident and that their actions were deliberate. An employee has a year from the date of injury to file a serious and willful misconduct complaint.
Proving serious and willful on the part of your employer can be very difficult, so we recommend contacting a Sacramento workers’ compensation attorney. Our attorneys have many years of experience in serious and willful misconduct cases.
To prove your employer violated a Cal/OSHA safety order, you and your attorney must show the following:
- How was the order violated
- How the violation caused your injury; and
- Your employer knew of the safety order, and they knew they were in violation.
To prove the employer severe and willful misconduct in an unsafe environment, an injured employee must show the following:
- Your employer knew of the dangerous working conditions;
- Your employer knew the situation would probably result in serious injury to an employee; and
- Your employer deliberately failed to take action to correct the problem.
According to California Labor Code 4553, the penalty for serious and willful misconduct is generally an additional fifty percent of all the workers’ compensation benefits received by the injured employee. Workers’ compensation insurance does not cover severe and willful misconduct, so the penalty comes directly from the employer.
If you have any questions regarding severe and willful misconduct and whether you have a case, please don’t hesitate to contact a Sacramento workers’ compensation attorney today. A workers’ compensation attorney can explain the difference between negligence and willful misconduct, how to prove severe and intentional misconduct, and the penalties for serious and willful misconduct. If you are uncertain if your case rises to the level of serious and willful misconduct, we recommend contacting a Sacramento workers’ compensation attorney.