Workers’ compensation claims allow employees to be compensated for their medical bills accumulated by injuries that occurred while they were working. Work-related injuries can be severe and debilitating. Injured employees may not even be able to go to work anymore due to disability, which will obviously reduce their potential income. Medical bills can quickly pile up and be a financial burden that most people can’t afford. Therefore, workers’ compensation benefits really help people when they need it the most.
Workers’ compensation helps pay for:
- Present and future medical bills
- Future medical-related costs, and
- Death benefits for family
Workers’ Compensation Fraud
While workers’ compensation claims help employees that have been injured with their medical expenses following serious injuries, there have been multiple cases of fraud. In California, employees do not need to prove their injuries were the fault of an employer to receive workers’ compensation due to the state’s no-fault rules. Therefore, people have abused these benefits and this kind of fraud happens more frequently. For punitive and deterrence reasons, workers’ compensation fraud now has civil and criminal penalties including large fines that violators will be liable to pay in addition to potential jail or prison time.
There are many ways that an employee or even a group of people can commit workers’ compensation fraud. The most common way is to fake, misrepresent, or exaggerate an injury. Workers comp fraud is also committed by claiming multiple payment benefits for the same injury or additional injuries that did not arise from the same job-related injury. Third persons may also commit workers’ compensation fraud by helping or conspiring with someone to commit this kind of fraud.
If you are accused of fraud, the first thing you should do is obtain legal help from a law firm such as O’Brien & Ford. The penalties are severe and can stay on your record. If you are charged with workers’ compensation fraud, it can either be a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the value of the claims that you made. You could go to jail or prison and be required to pay up to the greater amount of either $150,000 or twice the amount of the fraud. Additionally, you may have to pay restitution to the employer or insurance company that you defrauded.
Clearly, being charged with workers’ compensation fraud is something that should be taken very seriously. In addition to the consequences described above, you will likely lose your job for making these false claims as well as have trouble finding new employment in the future. This is particularly why you need an attorney to see if you have any defenses (i.e. if you truly have or believed you had a legitimate claim) to move past this without severe consequences.
You may check Richmond VA workers compensation attorney for more information.
Rachel Slifka is a freelance writer and human resources professional. She is passionate about helping fellow millennials find success with their finances and careers. Read more by checking out her website at RachelSlifka.com.