Workers' compensation fraud is a serious problem, and penalties may be strict. If you believe that fraud has been committed or if you have been charged with this claim, you should consult with a workers' compensation attorney immediately to plan your next course of action. This may be a complicated charge, and you are entitled to the support of a legal professional.
Workers' compensation allows individuals to receive payment for any medical expenses and lost wages incurred while recovering from an injury or illness sustained on the job. It is typically paid by an insurance policy taken out by the employer. Workers' compensation is required by law in most states, and receiving payment for workplace injuries may be your legal right.
Fraud occurs when a worker fakes being injured or sick in order to collect workers' compensation. It may also occur if a worker exaggerates an injury, exaggerates the time spent recovering, or claims that a previously sustained injury happened on the job. Insurance fraud may also be perpetrated by healthcare clinics who seek to exaggerate a worker's condition to receive more money from the insurance company providing the compensation.
In the past several years, fraudulent claims have increased in the United States due to poor economic conditions. Individuals who cannot make ends meet may claim to be injured at one job to moonlight at another. Penalties for committing this or any other type of workers' compensation fraud may be severe.
The general definition of fraud states that it is either an intentional deception or a simple misrepresentation of information. Depending on the severity of your fraud and its overall financial impact, you may be faced with several potential penalties. These include:
Unless you have committed egregious and repeated acts of workers' compensation fraud, you probably do not have to worry about a felony conviction. No matter what sort of fraud accusation has been leveled against you, you should always consult with a lawyer before going to court. Likewise, if you believe your worker is "faking" a workers' compensation claim, you should first consult with an attorney before pursuing a lawsuit.