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A Serious and Willful injury (S & W) in workers' comp is when an employer has committed an intentional act, OR failed to act, with knowledge that serious injury will probably occur.  

In other words, if your employer knew of an unsafe condition at your work, did nothing about it, and you got injured, the monetary benefit (money/compensation) can increase.  

There is a four-part test for an S & W.  

  1. Employer had knowledge of dangerous condition,

  2. Employer had knowledge that probable consequences of its continuance will involve serious injury

  3. Employer deliberately fails to take corrective action, and 

  4. the failure to act was a proximate cause to injury.

  • Violation of safety standards set in regulations can be S & W misconduct

    • Show:

      • Specific manner in which the safety order was violated

      • Specific manner in which violation proximately caused injury or death

      • AND

      • Employer knew OR condition was obvious

For example, if you were working with machinery that your work knew to be defective, your boss knew people could get injured (because other people have been injured), your boss did not do anything to fix the defective machinery, and you were injured because of the defective machinery, you may qualify for a serious and willful injury.  


This is an additional claim to a workers' compensation injury and there are specific criteria that must be reached to qualify for this type of case.  When an S & W is established, compensation can increase by 50%.

If you believe you have a Serious and Willful case, you only have ONE YEAR to file a petition.  Do not delay if you believe your case involves an S&W.

If you have questions about whether your work injury is an S & W injury, call our office today to  have a free consultation with an attorney.  



Redula & Redula LLP helps injured workers who live and work in Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties.  We help injured workers apply for workers’ compensation benefits after work injuries - specific injuries, cumulative trauma (repetitive work injuries), psychiatric injuries, death benefits cases, subsequent injuries benefits trust fund cases (SIBTF), slip and falls, carpal tunnel syndrome.    


Salinas, Monterey, Greenfield, King City, Soledad, Seaside, Marina, Del Rey Oaks, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Carmel, Carmel Valley, Gonzales, Pacific Grove, Sand City, Boronda, Pebble Beach, Spreckels, Santa Cruz, Aptos, Watsonville, Soquel, Capitola, Scotts Valley, Ben Lomond, San Juan Bautista, Hollister, Aromas

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