Workers' compensation claims involving employer's "serious and willful" misconduct

In our last post, we mentioned that workers who are injured on the job in Massachusetts may be able to pursue an employer for the employer's role in a workplace accident when serious and willful misconduct is involved. State law specifically states that employees who are injured by an employer's serious and willful misconduct are entitled to double the amount of damages to which they would otherwise be entitled.

In such cases, the employer is entitled to appear and defend against the claim that it engaged in serious and willful misconduct toward the employee. For the injured worker, proving such a claim is not an easy matter since serious and willful misconduct is a high bar to meet. Serious and willful misconduct is more than mere negligence, which only requires showing that the employer failed to act with reasonable care.