Definition of Serious And Willful Misconduct
Serious and willful misconduct, which is also known as S&W is a term that is used in a California workers' compensation case. Serious and willful misconduct means any intentional act, or failure to act, which is coupled with the knowledge that serious harm or injury will probably occur as a result of that intentional act or failure to act. An employer or an employee may be guilty of serious and willful misconduct.
If an employer is found to be guilty of committing serious and willful misconduct, the amount that an injured worker receives in a workers' compensation claim is increased by 50 percent. The way this is determined is by taking the total of all of the monies that are paid directly to an injured worker, which includes lost wages, medical treatment, medical-legal fees and vocational rehabilitation. 50 percent of this total is then awarded to the injured worker for serious and willful misconduct. If an employee is found to be guilty of serious and willful misconduct and suffers injury, a serious and willful misconduct petition can be made by their employer. The intent being to reduce the amount of benefits that will be paid to that injured worker.