CAN A STUDENT’S MURDEROUS THOUGHTS ENTITLE AN INJURED TEACHER A LARGER WORK COMP AWARD? INJURED WORKER IN THE NEWS, #75

A Teacher was shot by a 6 year old student in her classroom.  Since the accident, new facts have been reported.   The student, prior to the shooting, allegedly had expressed a desire to set this teacher on fire and have her die.   A news report noted that “[t]he child, who was known to throw furniture and other objects in the classroom, once wrote a note to a teacher in which he told her hated her, wanted to set her on fire to kill her, the teachers union told The Washington Post. When she brought the disturbing letter to school administrators, they told her to drop it, according to the teacher.” Nypost.com

This article will discuss this fact pattern within California Law.

Can This Injured Worker Pursue a Greater Claim Than Mere Workers’ Compensation?

Yes. Within the workers’ compensation system, there is a special provision for Serious and Willful Misconduct. This involves matters in which an Employer’s conduct is beyond mere negligence.  The statute is California Labor Code Section§ 4553, which provides that “ The amount of compensation otherwise recoverable shall be increased one-half, together with costs and expenses not to exceed two hundred fifty dollars ($250), where the employee is injured by reason of the serious and willful misconduct of any of the following: (a) The employer, or his managing representative.”

In the present facts alleged, it appears that dangerous threats were ignored by management of the school.  Thus, there is a factual basis to allege that there was serious and willful misconduct.  Ultimately, a Trial Judge will make the decision concerning the issue.

Are There Other Sources of Recovery?

Yes. In this instance, there is a third party responsible.  It has been reported that the child’s parent owned the weapon. Therefore, a negligence claim could be pursued. Also, there may be other third parties involved. A civil attorney would be the appropriate individual to do such an analysis.

What if I Need Advice?

If you would like a free consultation regarding workers’ compensation, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. We have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their workers’ compensation cases for 27 years. Contact us today for more information.

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