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Willful Misconduct – Violations of Statutes

Affirmative defenses allow insurance companies to refuse to pay workers’ compensation benefits even when an injury occurs at work.  This blog is part of a series of blogs covering one of the most common affirmative defenses in Georgia workers’ compensation claims – willful misconduct.

Our previous blog posts in this series have discussed willful misconduct in the form of intoxication, failure to follow a safety rule, and attempting to injure yourself or someone else.

What Is A Statute?

This blog post will discuss the affirmative defense associated with failure to perform a duty required by statute.  A statute is a law that is passed by a governing body such as the Georgia legislature.

There are thousands of statutes in Georgia.  Some statutes define criminal acts such as battery, robbery, or speeding.  Other statutes define civil responsibilities.

Can Insurance Companies Deny Benefits For Traffic Violations Like Speeding?

Sometimes, injuries at work occur in a situation where the insurance company claims that the injured employee violated a statute.  One example is automobile accidents.

Take the situation where an employee is injured in a car wreck while on the job.  If the injured worker was speeding, does that allow the insurance company to deny him or her payment of workers’ compensation benefits?

The courts in Georgia have generally found that proof of speeding is not enough on its own to prove willful misconduct and deny benefits.  Generally, the courts have required that insurance companies prove intent to violate the law instead of mere carelessness.  So, if you are injured while speeding, you will usually be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits.

What Should I Do If My Benefits Are Denied?

However, it is important to understand that you may have to fight to get the benefits to which you are entitled.  The law allows the insurance company to claim that your injury was caused by willful misconduct and file a Form WC-3 denying your claim.

If this happens, you will usually have to take the insurance company to court to get your benefits paid.

What if I have other questions about workers compensation?

Georgia’s workers compensation system can be very confusing.  You have to worry about getting the treatment you need and paying your bills while also worrying about not missing any deadlines that could cause you to lose your right to receive workers compensation benefits.

If you have questions, I would recommend that you try to get answers.  To find out more about how to schedule a time to talk to me about your workers compensation questions, just read this short article.

Jason Perkins is an attorney who specializes in representing injured workers.  He regularly publishes videos and write blog articles about Georgia’s workers compensation system and issues that are important to injured workers and their families.

To be notified of Jason’s new workers compensation videos, subscribe to his Georgia Workers Compensation Video Series channel on YouTube by clicking the subscribe button below.

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I highly recommend Perkins Law Firm. Throughout the whole process Perkins team kept me updated and explained everything very well. I am very pleased with their work. You will not be disappointed!!trina flornce
Mr. Perkins and team...Tina* they have all been so awesome. Always available to talk to me with any concerns. Kept me informed on my case all the way. Greatly appreciated!Missy Cherry
Amazing! Jason and his team were very helpful and had the best communication by far. Walked me though every step with great detail and had answers for any question I had. They handled my case better then I could imagine, it was a weird case and they stayed on top of it and kept me updated every step of the way! Highly recommend this Team! Thanks so much to Jason and his Awesome team! -BrittneyBrittney-lee orourke
This law firm is very good at what it does the staff and the lawyer's that were involved with my case all were very perfesional and curious I couldn't ask for a better law firm I want to thank everyone for a great job thanks Les RyanLeslie Ryan
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If you must get a lawyer involved, you’d do well to work with Jason Perkins and his team at Perkins Studdard Law. They were thorough in gathering information and in sharing all the steps in the workers comp process specific to my case. Jason and the team were responsive to my bevy of questions and concerns. I appreciated the informative videos and consultations provided by Jason over video meetings and multiple phone calls. I hope I’m never injured on the job again. However, if I am and if my employer responds as my previous employer did, I’ll contact Perkins Studdard Law immediately to handle the case.moombi
Everyone at Perkins Studdard was kind and professional. They were always extremely responsive and answered all questions that I had and followed up to make sure I had an understanding of what was going on along with emailing videos to explain every step of my case so I would know what to expect and be prepared. Jason is a very genuine person and I trusted him with my case. He answered so many questions for me even before I retained him as my WC lawyer. I highly recommend him and his associates at Perkins Studdard.Dana Bess
Great staff and very knowlegable. They treat you like family and work hard to get you what you need. Highly recommended.Josh Carter

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