It is extremely important for all employers -- regardless of size or sector -- to remain hyper-vigilant when it comes to potentially fraudulent and frivolous work comp claims. In particular, one type of employee fraud that employers should constantly be on the lookout for is misrepresentations by an employee concerning the severity or symptoms of their work injury.
Multiple government agencies in the state of California are officially joining forces to crack down on the so-called "underground economy," meaning both uninsured employers, and those employers who abuse state employment and work comp laws.
There is no disputing that employee fraud -- in the form of falsely applying for and receiving work comp benefits -- costs private employers here in California, and across the U.S. millions of dollars each year. However, the fallout from this work comp fraud is not just limited to the private sector. In fact, federal agencies are constantly struggling with the issue and many are now resorting to time-tested methods of catching fraudulent behavior.
In a previous workers' compensation defense post, we reported on how a Laguna Hills couple was facing a multitude of criminal charges for orchestrating what the Orange County District Attorney's Office called one of the largest work comp fraud schemes in California history.
Reform of the federal workers' compensation system has emerged as a significant issue on Capitol Hill over the course of the last year. For example, Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) sponsored legislation back in February that would transition both federal and postal employees who suffered work injuries from the work comp system to the applicable retirement system upon reaching the retirement age of 65.
From technology and manufacturing to agriculture and finance, we are often at the forefront of major industry shifts in California. One industry in particular that has undergone a significant shift here in the Golden State over the past few years is construction. Specifically, more and more builders are now converting to "green" or environmentally friendly projects. However, did you know that these projects present an elevated risk of decreased productivity, and the incurrence of both workers' compensation defense costs and large fines?
In these tough economic times, cities here in California and across the United States are looking for innovative ways to cut costs and preserve valuable funds. One area in particular where cities are looking to save money is that of work injuries/work comp claims.
It is extremely important for employers to take the necessary measures to protect their employees from serious work injuries. In fact, the failure to maintain a safe working environment can lead to significant repercussions, including an employee's workers' compensation claim, OSHA fines, increased workers' compensation insurance premiums and possibly an employee serious and willful misconduct lawsuit.
Employees who suffered a serious work injury will likely incur a variety of work comp medical expenses, including prescription medication costs. Interestingly, a recent study has revealed that these prescription medication costs are rapidly rising both here in California and across the entire nation.
Under California law, employers are required to maintain workers compensation insurance for all of their employees. In order to determine the insurance premiums, the employer must submit payroll records for all of their employees both to the worker's compensation insurance company. Based on the number and type of employees, along with each individual company's history of injury claims, the insurance carrier will determine the premium.