When an employee has a work accident, employers and the workers compensation insurance company sometimes claim willful misconduct as a defense to the claim by the injured worker. Injuries caused by an employee’s willful misconduct are not covered by Virginia workers compensation. To prevail on a defense of willful conduct, the employer must prove that (1) the safety rule was reasonable, (2) the employee knew about the rule, (3) the rule was intended for the employee’s benefit, and (4) the employee intentionally undertook the forbidden act. The “willfulness” is in violating the safety rule, not intending the consequences.
If you have filed a workers compensation claim in Virginia and the employer or workers compensation insurance company is claiming the injury was a result of willful misconduct, you need to talk to a lawyer right away! This defense is sometimes used inappropriately to defend against workers compensation claims but you will need an attorney to sort through this, as this is a complicated situation that requires the assistance of an experienced workers compensation legal professional. Workers compensation and “willful misconduct” are both complicated legal areas that can be difficult and confusing to navigate without an experienced workers compensation legal professional on your side.
The Injured Workers Law Firm is focused on serving clients with workers’ compensation claims throughout Virginia.For answers to your questions about benefits download our book, The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia or call our office today (804) 755-7755. The Injured Workers Law Firm, serving Fredericksburg, Virginia Beach, Manassas, Charlottesville, Fairfax, Hampton Roads and all of Virginia.