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Work Injury Statistics
If you believe the headlines, lay-about workers are responsible for most workers' compensation fraud. The insurance companies, in particular, have helped create the myth that many people fake their on-the-job injuries in order to fraudulently collect workers' compensation benefits.
But the truth is, worker fraud is much less common and much less costly than employer and insurance company fraud. In virtually every independent study, worker fraud has been found to be less than 2 percent of total claims.
A recent article in Workers First Watch, a publication of the Workers Injury Law and Advocacy Group (www.wilg.org) provided facts about the cost and prevalence of employer and insurance company workers' compensation fraud.
Among the article's findings:
For injured workers, however, the cost of workers' compensation fraud is great. When employers fail to carry workers' compensation insurance, the cost of medical treatment and other care falls to the injured, as well as to taxpayers in general, through government and social services agencies.
There's also considerable fallout from the widespread belief that workers are defrauding the workers' compensation system in large numbers. In fact, the notion that employee fraud is rampant has helped win approval for draconian workers' compensation reform efforts in many states.
Other effects of this misinformation:
Fraud also hurts honest employers, who pay higher premiums to make up for those companies that do not carry workers' compensation insurance. In some industries, such as construction, honest companies also face a competitive disadvantage because they can't match the rates offered by non-compliant companies.