In this blog, we will discuss two of the specific types of willful misconduct: Self inflicted injuries and injuries arising from an attempt to injure someone else. This blog is part of a series of blogs discussing affirmative defenses under Georgia workers’ compensation law. Our previous blogs in this series have discussed willful misconduct generally as well as the specific willful misconduct defenses of intoxication and the failure to use a safety appliance.
Self Inflicted Injuries
Self-inflicted injuries are injuries which the injured worker intended to cause to himself or herself. These injuries are rare in Georgia workers’ compensation claims. It is important to understand that it is the employer’s responsibility to prove that the injury was intentionally self-inflicted in order to succeed with this defense. If the employer does not prove this, then their defense should fail.
Injuries Attempting To Injure Someone Else
An employer can also avoid responsibility for payment of workers’ compensation benefits if it can prove that the injury arose from an attempt to injure someone else. This defense often comes up when a fight starts at work. Generally, the aggressor in the fight may be prohibited from drawing workers’ compensation benefits for an injury suffered in such an altercation. If the injured worker was not the person that started the fight, then he or she will generally be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits, as long as the fight was not started for a purely personal reason.
Talking to an Attorney
If your employer or their workers’ compensation insurance company is claiming that they should not pay for your injuries because they were self-inflicted or arose from an attempt to injure someone else, you should probably get a free consultation with an attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation claims. Also, be on the lookout for our next blog post in this series where we will discuss the affirmative defense of the failure to follow a duty required by statute.