Employer Fraud In Workers’ Compensation Matters
Tales of rampant worker fraud in workers’ compensation matters are largely exaggerated. Statistically, less than 2 percent of worker claims are fraudulent. Employer fraud, on the other hand, is a much more pervasive problem. As far as many business owners are concerned, workers’ compensation is an unnecessary cost. In order to maximize their profits, many business owners constantly look to trim unnecessary expenses.
Furthermore, in most states, including Florida, investigators are not very aggressive in this area, and penalties are usually light. Frequently, the penalty is usually only a fine which barely exceeds the amount of money illegally saved. In other words, the chances of getting caught are slim, and the possible financial risk is not too large.
Workers’ compensation matters are already complex. Verified allegations of employer fraud muddy the waters even further. So, a Tampa workers’ compensation attorney needs to stand up for your legal and financial rights in these situations. Employers who commit workers’ compensation fraud think they can get away with it. Unless your attorney is very diligent, that could well be the case.
Kinds of Employer Fraud
In a few cases, employers openly flaunt the workers’ compensation law in Florida. Most companies must buy insurance, but a few simply ignore this requirement. There is also a rather lucrative market for false insurance declaration pages and other paperwork. As mentioned, many state regulators do not ask too many questions, if an insurance policy at least appears to be valid.
False statements on insurance forms, either at the purchase stage or at the claims stage, is much more common. False initial statements often include intentionally miscounting workers or payroll size. For example, ABC company might claim it has 500 employees when it actually has 750. Number of workers is one of the biggest premium determination factors. As the number of people on the payroll increases, the likelihood of a job injury increases as well.
These same principles apply to payroll size. The more workers earn, the higher their wage replacement benefits are if they are injured. So, some employers lie about payroll size to decrease their risk.
Misclassification is an issue as well. Legally, companies must only insure workers. Therefore, many firms intentionally misclassify employees as independent contractors. But the boss does not have the final word as to who is an employee and who is a non-employee.
On a similar note, some unscrupulous employers lie about job duties. Assume ABC has 500 high-risk construction workers and 250 low-risk office employees. Again to lower its premium payments, ABC might reverse these categories (250 construction and 500 office workers).
How Fraud Affects Job Injury Claims
The various kinds of employer fraud have an overall impact on all workers’ compensation claims. Additionally, fraud might affect a specific claim.
In general, fraud reduces the amount of money available to compensate injured workers. Therefore, Claims Examiners and insurance company lawyers are often even stingier than normal. The limited amount of money must go further than it should.
As for specific impacts, when insurance companies discover fraud, they often deny claims. If that happens, and a Tampa job injury lawyer can prove negligence, the victim might be entitled to additional compensation.
Rely On an Experienced Hillsborough County Attorney
Job injury victims are entitled to important financial benefits. For a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in Tampa, contact Kobal Law. Virtual, home, and hospital visits are available.