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Chico Workers' Compensation: When Your Employer Is Liable for Your Workplace Injury

California workers’ compensation insurance has a “no-fault” policy, meaning it will generally prevent most injured workers from suing their employers. Workers’ compensation benefits are described as the “exclusive remedy” in 99.9% of cases, meaning that receiving a monthly compensation check is supposed to resolve the matter to the satisfaction of both parties.

But what happens when you suspect – or have even identified evidence – that your employer knowingly put you in danger?

Serious & Willful Misconduct

There are limits to an employer’s immunities under the workers’ compensation no-fault policy. Outside the workers’ comp system, you can also take civil action.

In some cases it becomes clear that an employer has “consciously disregarded your safety interests” and left you in a situation where they knew injury was likely. When this happens, your employer may also be liable for Serious and Willful Misconduct (S&W).

In a successful S&W case, the injured employee will directly sue their employer, meaning that the employer and not the workers’ compensation system will pay the settlement. The amount of compensation you can receive from this course of action can make the check you receive from workers’ compensation seem quite small in comparison.

Ways to Demonstrate Employer’s Liability

Because this sort of case is typically outside of the scope of even the most complicated workers’ compensation claims, it is strongly advised that you at least review the case with a Chico injury attorney. Together, you can start the process of building a case to:

  • Prove the employer knew of a risk and intentionally failed to protect workers from it.
  • Prove the employer neglected to take action even after obtaining information about the likelihood of serious injury.
  • Prove the employer could be charged with a serious violation of Cal/OSHA safety regulations.

In order to start an S&W claim, you must file and serve a petition to the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB). Keep in mind that S&W has a one-year statute of limitations, typically starting with the date the employer’s conduct caused injury.

Do you believe that your employer’s serious and willful misconduct contributed to—or caused—your workplace injury? Make sure you speak with a knowledgeable and experienced Chico workers' comp lawyer in a no-cost case review as soon as possible. Learn more by calling Ledgerwood Law Group at 888-761-7383 today. Also, be sure to request a free copy of our book, The California Workers’ Compensation Survival Manual.


Thomas Ledgerwood
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Proprietor Ledgerwood Law Group