• Paul Peter Nicolai

Workers’ Comp Double Compensation Expanded

An injured employee was awarded double compensation since the employer intentionally failed to take adequate precautions in the face of a known hazard that posed a high risk of substantial injury. On appeal, the employer argued the standard for awarding double compensation required an intentional act done likely to result in serious injury or with wanton and reckless disregard for its probable consequences. The employee agreed but said the knowledge of the hazard and the employer’s intentional failure to remedy it determined whether its conduct rose to the level of an unreasonable risk of serious injury. The court ruled for the employee.

Why This Is Important…This Massachusetts ruling means actual intent to harm is not required for double recovery. Doing or failing to do an act the employer or a reasonable person would know or have reason to know creates an unreasonably high risk of bodily harm that involves a high probability that substantial harm will result in showing sufficient intent. This increases the scope of potential double damages liability in worker compensation cases.

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