For some reason, a lot of people think that filing a workers compensation claim is like getting a paid vacation. They’re willing to suffer a workplace injury if it means they can sit home for three or four months collecting a paycheck. What they don’t realize is that being out on workers comp is nothing like being on vacation. Our Coral Springs workers comp lawyers talk to our clients all the time who can’t wait to get back to work. This is especially true for our clients who suffered a serious workplace injury.
It’s one thing to break a finger or suffer a burn on your arm. These injuries will usually only keep you out of work for a few weeks or maybe a month or two. For other people, their injuries are so serious that they’re out of work for months or even a year. Many of them are never able to go back to work in the same position they had before their workplace accident. Sadly, some of our clients are left permanently disabled and are unable to work ever again. This is why it’s a bit confusing for many of our Florida workers comp attorneys to find that some people fake a workplace injury in the hopes of getting workers compensation benefits.
Our Legal Team Explains the Limits of Our Ability to Assist You
Here, we will explain what a fraudulent workers compensation claim looks like. We will also discuss what red flags employers look for when trying to determine if a worker’s compensation claim is legitimate or not. Finally, we will explain what our Coral Springs workers comp lawyers can and cannot do to help somebody who filed a fraudulent workers compensation claim.
If you find yourself in this position and you’re not quite sure what to do, you can certainly contact our office and schedule a free, initial consultation. There’s always the chance that you have been falsely accused of filing a fraudulent workers compensation claim. If that’s the case, our attorneys will do our best to help rectify the situation and get you the benefits you rightfully deserve. If, however, you did intentionally file a fake workers compensation claim, you could be facing fines, restitution, and possible criminal charges.
What Constitutes a Fraudulent Workers Compensation Claim?
If you’re not quite sure what constitutes a fraudulent workers compensation claim, we will discuss it briefly here. In general, a workers compensation claim involves a worker who was injured while performing their normal duties at work. They may have slipped and fallen and injured their back. They may have lifted a heavy piece of equipment and hurt themselves. They may have developed carpal tunnel syndrome from doing repetitive motions such as typing or dealing cards at a casino. They are hardworking people who, through no fault of their own, got injured while doing their job.
A fraudulent workers compensation claim, on the other hand, involves an employee who either suffered no injury at all, or suffered an injury outside of work. Instead of explaining what really happened, they pretend that they got injured on the job in the hopes that they can collect workers compensation benefits. They’re typically workers who cannot produce a witness to their workplace accident. They complain of general pain but nothing that can be diagnosed via an X-ray, MRI, or a CT scan.
Or, they refuse to take the drug test as required by their company’s policy. They may wait until the last day to report their alleged injury, hoping that any drug that was in their system on the day they got hurt will no longer show up on a drug test. They’re essentially people who lie about how they got hurt or lie about the fact that they were hurt at all in the hopes of collecting workers compensation benefits while sitting at home enjoying what they consider to be a paid vacation.
There are Red Flags that Your Employer and their Insurance Company Look For
As we’ve explained to many of our clients in the past, there are certain red flags employers look for when they’re investigating the validity of a workers compensation claim. These are the same red flags that our Coral Springs workers comp lawyers look for when they first meet with a new client. The last thing we want to do is spend our time fighting to get somebody workers compensation benefits only to find out that their claim was fraudulent. Some of these red flags include the following:
- you have been written up for a final warning regarding your attendance in the days before your workplace accident
- your injury takes place in the beginning part of your shift on a Monday
- you have been written up for performance or for disciplinary reasons and have been put on final warning that your job may be in jeopardy only days before you suffer an alleged workplace injury
- you posted on Facebook and other social media sites that you hate your job and would love nothing more than a paid vacation
- you told coworkers and even managers that you hurt yourself over the weekend but then submit a workers compensation claim
Of course, this list is not exhaustive. There are many other things that employers look for when determining whether a workers compensation claim is real. We could probably write an entire treatise on how to investigate workers compensation claims if we had such an inclination.
Your Florida Workers Comp Attorney May Need to Refer You to a Criminal Attorney
Often, when an employer or their insurance carrier identifies a workers compensation claim as being fraudulent, they are wrong. There are some cases that just involve so many red flags that make it appear as if the claim is fake when it is actually a legitimate claim. Our Coral Springs workers comp lawyers have witnessed cases like this firsthand.
For example, an employee may injure themselves within the first half hour of their shift on a Monday morning. Their employer believes that it’s too coincidental that an employee who boasted about having a raucous weekend managed to hurt themselves in the first half hour of their shift.
While it’s understandable that your employer may feel this way, if your injuries were legitimate, and they did happen while on the job, then you should not be penalized. Our Florida workers comp attorneys will have no problem helping you file an appeal and fight to get you the benefits you deserve. On the other hand, if you admittedly filed a fake workers compensation claim, the most we can probably do for you is refer you to a criminal defense lawyer in your area.