Posted by Foster Law on May 18, 2015
Contrary to popular belief, workers' compensation fraud goes beyond a solitary employee exaggerating their workplace injury or working under the table for cash while receiving disability payments. While those things do happen, employers are also committing fraudulent acts by under-reporting their payrolls to obtain lower premiums and health care providers charging for services they have never performed.
Workers compensation fraud is costing the businesses and citizens of Washington state billions of dollars every year.
So now that we have a better idea of how this is financially draining Washington State's workers' comp system, let's talk about what workers' compensation fraud is.
“A worker in Washington State pleaded guilty to stealing more than $14,000 in disability benefits after he was videotaped racing BMX bikes.”- WA Dept. L&I
In Washington State there are three different types of workers' compensation fraud.
Examples of Claim Fraud:
Examples of Unfair Benefits Fraud:
Examples of Disability Fraud:
Workers' compensation fraud takes place when someone deliberately makes a false statement or hides information in order to obtain workers' compensation benefits or prevents another from collecting benefits to which they might be entitled.
“A Spanaway woman that claimed she was too disabled from a job-related injury to work was caught operating a local restaurant while receiving over $56,000 in injured worker benefits.” – WA Dept. L&I
Workers compensation insurance provides wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured on the job or that have suffered from an occupational illness or disease. In some cases, without the assistance of workers compensation benefits, the employee would be unable to receive medical treatment, eat, pay bills or survive.
Aside from the cost in lost jobs and profit, lower wages and benefits, and higher costs for services and premiums, workers' compensation fraud amounts to $7.2 billion per year across the United States, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
“A former drywall contractor in Walla Walla, Washington has been found liable for unpaid workers' comp premiums, interest, and late fees totaling over one million dollars. The contractor owes L&I more than $615,000 in premiums, $102,000 in late penalties, and $296,000 in interest, totaling over $1, 013, 00.00.”
If you have suffered a work-related injury or illness and are seeking workers' compensation benefits, please contact Foster Law, PC to schedule a free initial consultation. We are attorneys in Seattle, Washington with specific expertise in workers' compensation law and can help ensure that you receive the benefits you deserve. Call 206-682-3436 or fill out our online contact form for more information.