Workers’ compensation is a program designed to help people who were injured on the job. Unfortunately, some workers, employers, doctors, and insurers try to take advantage of the system. Incidents of workers’ compensation fraud make the entire system less affordable for employers, less reliable for injured workers, and less trusted by everyone. Fears of fraud and increased costs in the system were reasons that led to California’s 2004 workers’ compensation reform legislation SB 899, which severely cut benefits and limited treatment options for injured workers.
One of the most recognized types of workers’ compensation fraud is faking a work injury. This type of fraud can happen in a few different ways.
- Filing a workers’ compensation claim for an injury that did not occur
- Filing a claim for an injury that occurred outside of work hours
- Filing a claim that resulted from a staged accident
- Filing a claim for a serious injury when the sustained injury was minor
It’s important to note that making a false or fraudulent workers’ compensation claim is a felony subject to up to 5 years in prison or a fine of up to $50,000 or double the value of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine. Most employers will investigate any work injuries they consider suspicious. There are many circumstances that employers may consider suspicious, including:
- Delayed reporting of the injury
- Report filed first thing Monday morning
- Report filed before or after employment termination or layoff
- No witnesses to the incident
- Refused treatment
- Reported injury not confirmed by medical examination
Reporting a fake work injury for the purpose of collecting workers’ compensation benefits is simply not worth the punishment if you get caught.
However, if you do suffer an injury at work, it’s important to report it promptly and seek immediate medical treatment, then contact an experienced workers’ compensation law firm, like the Law Offices of Scott Warmuth. We offer free consultations in English, Spanish, Mandarin, and Cantonese. Call us today at 888-517-9888!