Are You Eligible For Workers’ Comp Benefits After Breaking Safety Rules?
After getting injured at work, the victims are put under severe financial stress for their medical treatment and loss of income. Additionally, the injured worker may be concerned about him and his family and have multiple questions like, “What should I do if I’m injured at work in Virginia” or “Will I get workers’ comp benefits if I broke a safety rule?”
Although the injured worker does not need to prove the negligence of its employer or anyone else to get workers’ compensation benefits, the employer can defend the claim you filed, saying the injury occurred because you purposely broke the safety rule that you were aware of. This falls under wilful misconduct defense.
How does the Virginia court determine if the employer has a willful misconduct defense?
After you file for compensation, the employer will use a willful misconduct defense against you with all the possible evidence they gathered. The Virginia court evaluates whether the defense is correct based on the following points.
- The injured worker was aware of the safety rule.
- The injured worker purposely broke the safety rule.
- The safety rule was fair.
- The safety rule by the employer is laid down to benefit the worker.
Suppose the Virginia court finds out the claimant (injured worker) purposely broke the safety rule and sustained an injury. In that case, you will not receive workers’ compensation benefits for your medical treatment and loss of income. Furthermore, if the injured workers claim that the employer laid out no rules, a hearing will be scheduled before the workers’ compensation judge. During the hearing, the employer and injured worker can provide evidence to support their statement.
If the employer proves the employee’s negligence to follow safety protocol, the workers’ commission judge will dismiss your compensation claim.
What should you do if your employer uses a willful misconduct defense against you?
In a situation where you are honest about your injuries and believe that you were unaware of the safety protocol, you can seek help from an experienced and skilled workers’ compensation lawyer in Virginia. A lawyer can help prepare a strong defense against the employer to oppose their wilful misconduct defense. Additionally, the lawyer is well-aware of how the law works, and they will ensure that your employer does not violate your rights. You can fight aggressively against your employer’s defense with the right lawyer by your side and secure maximum monetary compensation for your injuries and other damages due to work.