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Sacks & Zolonz Employer Workers' Compensation Defense Attorneys Blog

Rising workers' compensation costs could hamper LA businesses

While a number of our posts have focused on workers’ compensation fraud, there is a growing problem  among the manufacturing industry with regard to workers’ compensation costs. Essentially, the steady increase in costs has caused a number of smaller companies to relocate to other regions of the country.

With each company that moves away from Los Angeles, it means fewer jobs for the regional economy; which in turn, means fewer tax revenue and possibly fewer services that the city can provide. A recent Bloomberg News report highlighted a company that previously resided in El Segundo was on pace to save more than $600,000 by relocating to central Indiana. The savings of health care costs, workers’ compensation insurance and property costs all played into the company’s decision to move. 

Back injuries are the leading cause of disability

The next time your employees complain of back pain, or seek time off to deal with lingering back injuries, chances are that they are not making false complaints. According to a recent Time magazine article, about 1 in 10 Americans deals with chronic back pain.

In fact, Americans spend more than $50 billion each year treating back ailments. Which is likely why back injuries are a continual reason that injured employees seek workers compensation benefits. Further evidence of this is found in a study published by the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases. The study shows that back pain is the leading cause of years lost due to disability.

Employers: protect employers, yourselves from noise related injuries

According to a recent study from the National Public Health Institute of Quebec, regular exposure to high levels of noise in the workplace can contribute both to work-related hearing loss and workplace accidents. The study, which looked specifically at the impact of routine exposure to 100 decibels of noise, found that those in such work environments were over twice as likely to be hospitalized for work injuries.

Workers who were exposed to over 100 decibels of noise on a regular basis were found to have nearly 2.5 times the risk of hospitalization due to workplace injury. Risk of hospitalization also increases along with hearing loss. The reasons for these observations are plain: higher noise levels prevent communication between workers, harm concentration levels, and put workers at risk of failing to notice safety hazards.

Authorities dispute bus driver's workers' comp claim, file charges

A bus driver with San Francisco's municipal public transit system filed various reports, including a workers' compensation claim, hoping to get some time off from work for on-the-job injuries allegedly suffered in a robbery.

There was only one problem connected with her claim: Video evidence contradicted it, with authorities believing that the woman filed a fraudulent workers' compensation claim. Instead of the scenario she envisioned unfolding as planned, she now faces a potential eight-year prison term.

Hospital owner's role in workers' comp fraud scheme exposed

In a prior post, we highlighted the indictment of California State Senator Ron Calderon based on accusations that he accepted bribe money from a Long Beach hospital owner in exchange for legislative favors. Essentially, Calderon pledged his support for proposals that would hinder or stall changes in state workers’ compensation laws with regard to how health care providers are reimbursed for performing spinal procedures.

The hospital owner, Michael Drobot, was also indicted by federal authorities for his part in the scheme. He is accused of taking millions in kickbacks in exchange for patient referrals to have spinal surgeries at his hospital. He then allegedly would bill the state’s workers’ compensation system for procedures that were reportedly unnecessary or unduly expensive. Ultimately, he is accused of billing nearly $500 million in bogus costs.

Common signs of workers' compensation fraud

In representing employers who have workers’ compensation claims lodged against them, we have gained a wealth of experience in rooting out fraudulent claims. Indeed, false claims do not outpace legitimate claims, but because of the proliferation of bogus claims, insurance costs are bound to increase for employers and through throughout the industry.

Because of this, it is helpful to remind our clients from time to time about the signs that could signify a false workers’ compensation claim. This post will highlight a few common flags.

NLRB decision could have workers' comp implications

In what is being viewed by many as a stunning upset, the Northwestern University football team recently won its challenge before the National Labor Relations Board. In doing so, the players convinced the regional director that they were in fact employees, instead of student-athletes.

It seemed inconceivable that the players could be successful given the traditional and overwhelming sense of amateur status that college athletes have operated under for decades. The love of the game and the opportunity to receive a free college education were the long held justifications for not paying athletes. 

State senator accused of workers' comp fraud

Corruption in politics is a running joke among comedians, but the situation involving State Sen. Ron Calderon is no laughing matter. The Democratic senator who represents several southeastern Los Angeles suburbs, including Bell Gardens and Montibello, has been accused of workers' compensation fraud.

One foot makes the difference in workers' comp appeal

An injured casino worker is likely celebrating the ruling handed down by a New Jersey appellate court regarding her workers’ compensation claim. The court ruled that her employer, Harrah’s Casino, would be responsible for the cost of her injuries pursuant to her claim. She was injured as she was leaving the casino parking garage. She was turning onto a street from the garage when her SUV was hit by another car.

After initially submitting her claim, the casino denied it; saying that it was not liable since the accident occurred off of its property. However, the worker claimed that she had not yet left the property as the rear of her vehicle, approximately one foot of it, was still in the parking lot when the crash occurred. Footage from a security camera confirmed this. An administrative law judge with the Division of Workers’ Compensation agreed.

Man found guilty for fraudulent workers' compensation claims

When a worker is dishonest about the severity of an injury a California employer could be faced with taking action to uncover potentially illegal activity. Suspecting an employee of fraudulent workers' compensation claims after suffering an injury while on the job may be difficult for a business owner. A man recently pleaded guilty to fraudulent workers' compensation claims in court when he was caught working while receiving benefits.

The accused man was seen laying concrete and was video recorded during the time of his disability leave and benefit collection. Reports claim that when the man discovered the investigation for fraudulent workers' compensation claims was underway, he left the state immediately. When found, the investigation team confronted the man with the evidence that was procured during the time meant to heal from his original injury.

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