§4553 - Serious and Willful Misconduct


Although California workers' compensation law is a non-fault based system, an injured employee may claim penalties against an employer for serious and willful misconduct. Labor Code §4553 provides for a 50% increase in workers' compensation benefits, where the employee is injured due to serious and willful misconduct of the employer.

In most instances, the defense of a serious and willful misconduct claim is not covered by the employer's policy of workers' compensation insurance. By law, the penalties for serious and willful misconduct of the employer may not be paid by the employer's workers' compensation insurer.

The employer charged with serious and willful misconduct by an injured employee is in need of knowledgeable and experienced legal counsel. Jerald P. Grainger, certified specialist in California workers' compensation law, has represented and effectively defended employers in serious and willful misconduct claims throughout California over the last three decades.