Willful Misconduct as a Defense to Georgia Workers’ Compensation Claims
The Claims Journal reports that Georgia is one of the few states in the country to allow the defense of willful misconduct in a workers’ compensation action. Furthermore, the defense of intoxication while on the job, like willful misconduct, can prevent the worker from collecting workers’ compensation benefits after a workplace injury. Your employer must do more than claim you committed willful misconduct or were intoxicated on the job to avoid liability for your workers’ compensation claim in Georgia. Instead, your employer needs hard evidence and must prove that you committed the acts alleged. Employers looking to avoid liability for their employees’ injuries will investigate injuries thoroughly to avoid paying claims.*
Actions that an employer claims are willful misconduct must meet the stringent legal definition. Willful misconduct in Georgia means that the employee knew that his or her actions violated a safety rule of the company, and done with the understanding that intentionally breaking the lawwill likely result in an injury or the wanton and reckless conduct that proves the employee disregarded the potential outcome of his or her actions.
Your employer will search high and low for any evidence that helps them avoid liability. Employers should be aware that OSHA guidelines prohibit universal drug or alcohol testing after an accident unless the facts of the situation indicate that either the injured employee or another employee involved in the incident might be under the influence. Similarly, your employer, and more specifically, their workers’ compensation insurance carrier, will likely look for witnesses to try to prove that you committed willful misconduct when you suffered your debilitating injury.
To make out an intoxication defense, the employer must prove that you had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or above within three hours of the incident. That might be difficult to showdepending on when the employer learned of the accident but employers and insurance companies will try to defend their bottom lines by using whatever means possible to avoid paying the benefits to which the law entitles you.
Accident News is an archive of select Georgia accidents, designed to alert and educate drivers, to help them avoid the most common causes of injuries. If you or a family member are injured in an accident, call Montlick & Associates 24/7 for your free consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333) or use our live chat at Montlick.com. For more information about Montlick & Associates’ award-winning public service programs click here.
Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law
17 Executive Park Dr NE
Atlanta, GA 30329
Telephone: 1 (800) LAW-NEED
Telephone: 1 (404) 529-6333
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