The unexpected death of a worker is understandably devastating for the worker's family and his or her community in California. One community in another state was recently faced with this situation following a workplace accident that occurred about a year ago. Dozens recently gathered to remember the victim who lost his life while on the job. However, the tragedy of the fatal workplace accident also affects the employer who may now require an employer defense.
Construction companies should always be looking to improve the safety of their work environments in order to avoid possible future legal problems resulting from workplace accidents in California. This is particularly important since construction workers are always working around heavy machinery and tall heights that could increase the chances of severe injury or even death when an incident occurs at a construction site. Employer defense may be required in the case of an injured worker claim or citations from work safety authorities.
When you look to categorize employers in Workers' Compensation most fall into one of two categories: insured and self -insured. They are the "good" employers since they took the steps to take care of their injured workers. Yet there is another category consisting of the despised and reviled employers who have no coverage of any kind in place: uninsured employers. The common perception is that they are this way (uninsured) out of an intention to save a buck. In our California legal system these uninsured employers are formally referred to as "illegally uninsured" and they are statutory criminals. They are suspect in their testimony (as recounted by some in our judiciary) because, after all, they are trying to protect themselves from their own misfeasance by not procuring the mandatory insurance coverage. Their employees do not have the constrictions or benefits of a medical provider network, and utilization review does not exist for them. Injured workers are free to seek whomsoever they wish to treat them and there are no formal checks on the amount or nature of the treatment, contrary to the way it exists with insured employers and utilization review of treatment.
Authorities charged three California workers with insurance fraud for claiming that workplace injuries were preventing them from returning to work. This includes a roofer, housekeeper and lab worker. While all three claimed debilitating injuries, there are allegations that all three engaged in physical activity going beyond their restrictions. At the same time, all three claimed thousands of dollars in benefits from insurers.
California readers may be aware of the lawsuit facing former NFL player Brad Culpepper. The football veteran spent nine years playing in the NFL, but he claimed that injuries he sustained in his capacity as a football player left him partially disabled. He is currently being sued for workers' compensation fraud, and he recently spoke to the media concerning accusations that he bilked an insurance company out of $175,000.
Workers' compensation fraud is a crime in California and can have serious consequences for an employer who is the target of the fraud. A business owner may suffer unnecessary financial losses if a fraudulent claim goes unnoticed. One vigilant business avoided losses when it became suspicious of one man's claims. He has since been charged with workers' compensation fraud.
Workers' compensation fraud can cause damage to a business and place the owner in a difficult position, both financially and professionally. Some people may question what led their current or former employee to abuse available benefits for personal gain. The decision for an employee to commit workers' compensation fraud in California may stem from being disgruntled at the company or from someone trying to take advantage of a particular situation.
When an employee commits workers' compensation fraud, it can place a business in a financially difficult situation. A company may lose money over time through the potentially rising cost of insurance premiums that reflect excessive amounts of benefits paid out. A California business owner may choose to take legal action if he or she suspects that an employee took advantage through workers' compensation fraud.
When a large group of employees is accidentally exposed to a dangerous chemical, an employer defense may be established to help prevent detrimental financial damage. A total of three California schools were recently closed after asbestos fibers and dust were said to have been found inside some of the buildings. The decision came after a heated discussion and vote among the school board that addressed the potential closing of 11 schools that had been under construction during the summer months. The school district may consider an employer defense in the event that the faculty and other workers fall ill.
Working as a police officer or firefighter in Los Angeles can place a person at a higher risk for work related injury. The generous benefits provided when a person is placed on leave may contribute to an overwhelming number of potential workers' compensation fraud that may exist among public servants. An employer that suspects workers' compensation fraud may question the validity of an injury and begin an investigation.