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Los Angeles Employer Workers' Compensation Law Blog

OSHA investigated fatally injured worker claim

A California employer that is responsible for the training or care of wild animals may run the risk of experiencing an injured worker claim. In the event a worker suffers a tragic accident, an employer may seek help to prevent unnecessary expenditures in the event of an injured worker claim. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently began an investigation to determine what may have happened when an elephant caretaker was crushed to death.

The tragic accident took pace when one of the elephants purportedly stepped on their caretaker and inflicted fatal crush injuries. The retired veterinarian was working within the animal's enclosure in a zoo setting and was discovered deceased within the animal's habitat barn. Records indicate that an increasing number of professionals believe that specific barriers or safety measures should be in place before workers are allowed to approach enclosed animals.

Employer defense may help during an investigation

An employer defense may have the potential to ease consequences in the event an employer is accused of dishonest practices. A recent report revealed the high number of businesses in California and across the nation that have intentionally labeled employees as independent contractors to intentionally avoid higher costs. Lawmakers in Washington have announced their plan to expose companies that mislabel the classification of their employees in an attempt to financially benefit. A business owner may prepare an employer defense if they suspect they may be investigated.

This practice allows a company to benefit from workers without the financial burden that direct employment often requires. An employee may require insurance, overtime and other costs or compensation for their work. The practice of misusing an independent contractor status has purportedly cost the government billions of dollars in tax money through stimulus agreements and contracts federally assigned to these employers that may have been dishonest about their staff.

Brad Culpepper accused of fraudulent workers' compensation claims

Suspecting a former employee of fraudulent workers' compensation claims can be difficult for an organization as they decide what their first steps should be. An insurance provider contracted by the NFL recently made the claim that Brad Culpepper is guilty of fraudulent workers' compensation claims, including lying. The agency made the decision to pursue legal action against the claimant after he was involved in potentially suspicious physical activities.

The professional and popular millionaire filed the questioned workers' comp claim in California for an injury suffered while a member of the National Football League. During the time Brad Culpepper pursued the claim, the state did not regulate a statute of limitations allowing any player at any time to file their claim. The former athlete believes that his injuries were legitimate and benefits should be provided for past expenses incurred.

Workers' compensation defense may be needed for Benzene exposure

Workers' compensation defense may be necessary for some California companies that foresee a future risk of serious health related problems among multiple employees. The medical costs of multiple workers that suffer health damage from chemical exposure may be extensive for an employer, making a strong workers' compensation defense valuable. The National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety recently completed a study that found high levels of Benzene exposure in specific oil and gas industry positions.

The Institute believes that employees that regularly work on job sites where fracking or flowback takes place may be regularly exposed to this cancer-causing gas. Researchers found that when employees opened tank hatches located on well sites, close to 88 percent of the air samples contained high levels of Benzene beyond recommended levels. The federal recommendation for exposure limits Benzene to .1 part per million in the entirety of a worker's shift.

OSHA to change injured worker claim regulations

An injured worker claim can include specific details regarding an incident and may reveal safety hazards in a California workplace. This may place an employer in a position where they must protect their business from potential repercussions. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently made changes to regulations that require employers to report certain information, including when an injured worker claim involved the death or hospitalization of an employee.

In the past, the agency required employers to file a report for 75 percent of the accidents or injuries that resulted in hospital time or fatality. The new changes require information be submitted to OSHA within a 24 hour period when an employee suffers amputation or blindness from a work related injury or is otherwise hospitalized. The death of a worker would need to be reported no later than eight hours after the business is aware of the tragedy.

Man accused of $50 million worth of workers' compensation fraud

A business owner may find themselves in a difficult situation if they are accused of workers' compensation fraud by the government or an insurance company. A California chiropractor was recently prosecuted for his potential involvement in one of the state's largest ever workers' compensation fraud cases to date. The man is accused of being the ringleader of a group responsible for funneling $50 million dollars worth of insurance benefits from insurance providers and the state.

The group of people accused of fraud purportedly ran medical facilities in multiple counties across California. The clinics may have filed thousands of workers' comp claims for patients that did not exist and for injuries that had been inflated. The amount billed to insurance companies over time for the benefits reached close to $50 million.

California contractor caught working with lack of insurance

Statistics show that many contractors with a lack of insurance in the state of California may be providing services to customers. Allowing employees to perform work duties without workers' comp coverage can place a business owner at risk of being discovered. In a recent surprise investigation, the California Contractors State License Board uncovered local contractors working with a lack of insurance and without licensure.

A contract employer in California is responsible for providing workers' comp insurance for workers and maintaining appropriate licenses. Undercover personnel presented themselves to tree trimming contractors as homeowners in an attempt to gain information and catch those practicing illegally. A total of six different companies were contacted for bids and asked to submit estimates above the state required minimum for licensure.

California contractors with a lack of insurance

A report revealed that in the recent past, one sixth of all construction employees in California were misclassified or not reported to potentially avoid insurance and fair pay. This can place employers and their workers in a difficult situation if they experience an injury while at a job site, and there is a lack of insurance. As the economy recovers, California continues to grow its construction industry with a need for contractors.

Reports show that thousands of informal construction workers have been mislabeled so that certain employers may be able to avoid paying tax or insurance. Many of these employees are also paid about 40 percent less than a standard employee makes. A worker that feels their wage and hour rights have been violated may unknowingly expose a business that is failing to provide workers’ compensation insurance when they file a claim.

When a claim becomes workers' compensation fraud

Experts agree that the rate of workers' compensation fraud continues to increase in California. The rise is seen in both contended claims and the amount of injuries that are filed. An employer that suspects an accident or injury has been claimed in an attempt to commit workers' compensation fraud may research the best possible method for investigating the situation.

A recent conference discussed the rising problem and how the actions of employers can be important when a worker files an injury claim. An employer can help prevent workers’ compensation fraud by asking questions and recording information immediately following an accident or injury. Unfortunately, not all business owners may be able to discuss a work injury before a claim is filed to help guide a victim and influence honesty.

Businesses allegedly suffered lack of insurance in California

An employer that has purchased workers' comp insurance from a false provider may be operating with a lack of insurance. In the event that an employee is injured while working, the lack of insurance may place a business in a very difficult financial situation. A California man was recently taken into police custody for allegedly selling fraudulent insurance to businesses.

The man was accused of providing both liability and workers' comp insurance to businesses, without having valid policies actually issued. The illegal practice of providing false insurance to an employer can place a business and its employees in a very difficult position in the event of an accident. He was charged for forgery including insurance and certificates, fraudulent conduct intended as theft and illegally transferring money.

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