Serious and Willful Misconduct Claims
For more than 15 years, the compassionate workplace injury attorneys at the Kenton Koszdin Law Office have been fighting for the rights of workers in southern California, recovering millions of dollars in financial compensation. Our success stems from a strong desire to achieve the best case outcomes for our clients and help them regain security in their lives. If you or a loved one has sustained considerable losses due to employer negligence, please don’t hesitate to call us today at (818) 901-9999. We will fight aggressively to protect your rights!
The Duty of Employers
In all workplaces – some more than others – the occasional accident is to be expected. After all, no one can truly predict what’s going to happen from one moment to the next, and sometimes, bad events come to pass due to the fault of no one.
However, there are cases in which an on the job injury could’ve been prevented if only it wasn’t for the employer’s negligence. When a hazard in the work environment makes itself known, the employer has the duty to address it in prompt fashion, before it causes injury to an employee. Unfortunately, some employers fail to do so, whether due to deliberate ignorance or the willingness to place profit over safety. This can constitute what is called serious and willful misconduct.
What Is The Penalty for Serious and Willful Misconduct?
Under California Labor Code Section 4553, an employer who is found to have caused an employee’s injury by their serious and willful misconduct must pay an amount equal to half the value of all benefits paid as a result of the injury, including temporary and permanent disability, medical and vocational rehabilitation benefits.
Furthermore, the statute provides that this liability is uninsurable. In other words, an S&W award must be paid out of the employer’s own pockets rather than their insurance company or a third party. And the amount of the award cannot be adjusted by the judge – if the employer is liable, they must pay in full, no exceptions.
The Employee’s Burden of Proof
In order to attain an additional S&W award in your workers’ compensation claim, you must be able to prove that the employer’s conduct not only contributed to the accident but was also willful in nature; that is, that the employer was perfectly aware of the hazard, yet deliberately failed to take corrective action. This is easier said than done. A strong legal argument supported by evidence is generally required to establish a serious and willful misconduct claim. It is highly recommended that you seek guidance from a legal professional.
Please Let Us Help
At the Kenton Koszdin Law Office, we offer absolutely free, confidential, no obligation in-office AND in-home consultations. You may schedule an appointment with us by calling our office or using our case submission form. We handle cases throughout southern California, including Los Angeles, Van Nuys, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino.