Worker's Compensation Fraud
Fraud comes in many different forms. One of the most popular types of fraud is the worker's compensation fraud that costs Americans $5 billion dollars a year. Employees and employers can commit worker's compensation fraud when they misrepresent facts to gain personal benefits that they are not legally entitled to or when they withhold awarding rightly owned benefits to employees.
Employees commit this type of fraud when they falsely claim to injure themselves at work, when in fact, the injury occurred outside the workplace. Worker compensation fraud also includes employees exaggerating and being dishonest about their work injuries to receive benefits, such as disability benefits, while working at another job.
Employers commit worker's compensation fraud when they misrepresent information by avoiding, denying or obtaining compensation on behalf of their employees, or knowingly withhold information to discourage employees from filing a claim in the case of an injury. For instance, an employer can falsely inform his or her employee that worker's compensation is only applicable to those who have worked at least six months or more.
Worker's Compensation Fraud and the Law
In Washington, the State Legislature has given statutory authority to the Labor and Industries to penalize those workers, health care providers, and businesses participating in the Workers' Compensation fraud.
Employees caught in the act will be required to repay the full amount of money they unlawfully claimed plus the penalty of half the amount of money.
Employers found committing the worker's compensation fraud will face felony charges if they knowingly alter payroll with the number of hours workers put in to the Labor and Industries department. The employer will also be held responsible for up to ten times the difference in payments due and the expense of checking the employer's records and books.
In other states and places, worker's compensation fraud is taken just as seriously and fraudsters can be heavily fined for it.
How Can You Prevent Worker's Compensation Fraud?
If you suspect a co-worker or employee sporting a fake injury, contact your employer or supervisor. Help put an end to this fraud that has resulted in companies claiming bankruptcy and thousands of layoffs. Some behaviors that may signal an employee falsely claiming to suffer an injury on the job, includes some one who:
- Claims to have suffered an injury, but no one else witnessed it.
- Provides different stories of how they got injured on the job.
- Delays seeking medical treatment for their injury.
- Appears to have been injured while off work.
- Appears to have been injured before being terminated from their job, or prior a planned strike.
- Has a record of filing multiple claims.
If you need help determining a worker's compensation fraud, contact your local fraud investigation bureau. You can do this by calling your local authorities and asking for the Fraud Department's contact number.