If an employee suffers a serious work-related injury here in California, they can turn to their employer's workers' compensation insurer for the financial assistance they will need as they recover. Unfortunately, employee fraud is still relatively common, in that some employees will fake or exaggerate the extent of their injuries in order to collect work comp benefits, costing their employer both time and money.
Earlier this month, the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services released the preliminary results of its "2012 Workers' Compensation Premium Rate Ranking Summary" for its state legislature. The much-anticipated report, which is released every two years, ranks every state -- from highest to lowest -- according to their workers' compensation premium rates.
California law mandates that employees who suffer serious injuries while on the job are entitled to monetary assistance through their employers' workers' compensation insurance. Unfortunately, some employees will try to exploit this otherwise equitable system by misrepresenting the extent of their work injuries, or lying about how or where their injuries occurred.
A food processing plant here in Southern California was recently the scene of a horrific industrial accident that has inspectors with the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) searching for clues and industry insiders wondering how something like this could possibly have happened.
As an employer, it's important to take the necessary steps to ensure the welfare of employees. Failure to do this can result in decreased productivity and increased insurance premiums. On the flip side, it's also important for employers to take steps to educate themselves on workers' compensation fraud as it too can affect their bottom line and their work comp premiums.
In recent workers' compensation defense news, a company owner based in the San Joaquin Valley and his adult daughter were ordered to pay over $600,000 in restitution to the state of California earlier this week after pleading guilty to a multitude of insurance fraud and tax evasion charges.
A few weeks ago, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the preliminary results of the 2011 National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI). For those unfamiliar with the CFOI, it is essentially a comprehensive survey of all fatal work injuries here in the United States each year.
According to a report published in the American Journal of Public Health, employers may want to think about increasing the number of paid sick days in their benefits package. A new study finds more paid sick leave could result in better worker productivity as well as fewer workplace accidents and injuries. Only two states, California among them have a system that provides for an employee who takes a sick leave to receive at least partial wages during that time, according to the study.
Serious work injuries that sideline employees for a prolonged period of time are simply inevitable. That is precisely why California law requires all employers to carry work comp insurance so that when these work injuries do occur, employees will be adequately protected.
In 2004, lawmakers introduced comprehensive reform to the state's work comp system in an effort to lower costs for insurers/employers and introduce greater predictability in work comp awards. Now, California's $17-billion work comp system is once again poised to undergo significant changes as lawmakers officially gave the green light to a massive overhaul.