Willful Misconduct—Or Insurance Companies Looking for Loopholes
If an employee is hurt due to “willful misconduct,” his claim may be lost. It makes sense but the insurance company will grab on to anything to deny a claim. If you are drunk at work and are hurt, of course your claim should be denied. But, what if you were going one mile over the speed limit or you don’t recall your speed, then you are in a car wreck and you are now paralyzed? Examples of willful misconduct would be: intoxication, incarceration, violating a statutory rule such as speeding or reckless driving, or violating a work safety rule. The law for work safety rules is that the employer has to show that the rule was reasonable, it was known to the injured worker, it was for the injured worker’s benefit, and the worker intentionally undertook the forbidden act. I’ve seen some tragic events occur to individuals under this rule. Many times, employers have safety rules but they are not followed. It can be hard to prove that nobody obeys the safety rules. My best advice is to follow all work safety rules as closely as possible, but at the same time remember that just because your employer is saying you violated a safety rule does not mean that if you fight it, you won’t win your benefits.