The WCAB may impose a penalty of 25% of the total award, or $10,000, whichever is less, where compensation benefits have been "unreasonably delayed or refused." Labor Code § 5814(a) The 25% penalty does not apply where the employer discovers a potential violation before the employee claims the 25% penalty and, within 90 days after discovery, pays the benefits due plus a self-imposed penalty of 10%; see Labor Code § 5814(b).
Where an employer or insurer knowingly violates Labor Code § 5814 "with a frequency that indicates a general business practice," the WCAB may impose administrative penalties of up to $400,000. Labor Code § 5814.6(a).
A "strict liability" penalty is imposed for late payment of benefits without any showing that the carrier acted "unreasonably." Labor Code § 4650 requires the carrier to pay an additional 10% if temporary disability benefits are not paid within 14 days after the insurer is notified of the injury. (This penalty does not apply, however, if the insurer denies liability or notifies the injured employee within the 14-day period what additional information is required to act on the claim.) Labor Code§ 4650.
A compensation award may be increased by 50% where the employee's injuries result from "serious and willful misconduct" by the employer. Labor Code § 4553.
Hope this helps.
NOTICE: My goal here is to educate others about the law. I am always available to answer your follow-up questions after you click Accept – however, if you do not click Accept, the website gets paid, and I receive nothing. This is true, even if you are on a subscription plan. So please click Accept, so that I will be able to continue to provide this service for others in the future.
And, if you need to contact me again, please put my user id on the title line of your question (“To Socrateaser”), and the system will send me an alert. Thanks!