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Courts Pursuing Workers Compensation Fraud

Courts in every state are cracking down hard on people who have managed to get away with workers compensation fraud.

Fraud costs employers and employees.

In California, the courts sentenced a 62-year-old male to two years in jail for two felony counts plus ordered him to pay $97,425.00 to the company he defrauded. In 2002, he filed a workers’ comp claim alleging industrial injuries from an accident at an offshore rig. His doctor kept him home because he claimed that he was too injured and in too much pain to work. During that time he received tax-free benefits totaling more than $35,000.00.

A videotaped investigation showed him working on his 48-foot sailboat. During the four-month surveillance, he was seen doing tasks with his allegedly injured hand.


Workers Comp Fraud

The Benefits of Ergonomics

A little effort put forth by your employer goes a long way in reducing repetitive strain injuries (RSI) and cumulative trauma disorders (CTD. The properly structured work environment geared to individual needs whether at a keyboard or performing line work or in a kitchen or on heavy machinery provide short and long-term health benefits to employees who will feel more invigorated, appreciated, and productive.

For employers, this can only improve their bottom line in the long run by staving off accidents, disabilities, and employee-related injuries for workers’ compensation. Other benefits include less sick days used, lower employee turnover, feeling mentally and physically alert, boosting morale, and having energy at the end of the day to pursue a quality of life after work.

A sensible and sensitive ergonomic setting is a win-win for both employees and employers.

Ergonimics at Work

On the Job

Meat Packing Dangers

Meatpacking has always been risky business especially for workers’ hands, arms, legs, and backs.

In the 1990s meat packing companies began keeping injured workers on the job, which reduced their reported injury rates and their worker’s compensation claims. In 2002 the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) changed its recording methods so that the most common injuries in meatpacking are now exiled from official statistics. The result is that today’s government data seriously under-reports injury levels in the meatpacking industry.

Meat packing jobs have fallen from fair wage-paying organized union oversight to lower wages. Workers suffer from one of the highest rates of repetitive stress carpal tunnel syndrome.

With little bargaining leverage over pay levels, activists turned to safety issues to retain a foothold in the industry. Immigrants and other meat packing employees on the front line learned the hard way about the meat packing’s bottom line and its lack of safety measures and high number of disabling injuries.

Despite the under reporting of injury statistics, meat packing still ranks among the highest number of injuries. In 2006 meatpacking still had the highest injury rate among industries with more than 100,000 workers.

The result of the numbers game is that one-third of injuries and two-thirds of illnesses in meatpacking are classified simply as other. This has made it difficult or impossible to track. It’s time for meat packing employees to find their collective voices and speak out about the ongoing horrors of this industry.



Calculate Compensation

Have our Attorneys Calculate Your Estimated Compensation Rate

This roundup of headlines from across the nation provides a snapshot of what's happening with
workers' compensation in the United States.

Kitchen Confidential

Although this article mostly deals with minority groups in a part of Los Angeles, it could be industry-wide or anywhere…where large numbers of immigrant restaurant workers supply cheap sweatshop type of labor to an ethnic part of town where they make far below the legal minimum wage while laboring 12 to 14 back-breaking hours per day.

Some of the complaints of more than 2,000 workers said they work between 40 to 60 hours a week without overtime pay. Few receive healthcare insurance or have access to workers' compensation. Almost half had suffered backaches, burns, slips. Most endured verbal abuse and had to work on their days off for their employers by babysitting or doing other errands.


Super Sleuthing Workers Compensation Claims

When you file a worker’s compensation claim, be sure to look over your shoulder because most likely your employer’s insurance company has hired a private investigator to shadow your activities. If you’re not pumping iron at the gym and driving your ATV around at breakneck speed while claiming grievous disabilities, you probably have nothing to worry about.

Private investigators are licensed, bonded, and insured; every state has restrictions as to what a P.I. can and cannot do. You should still be cautious and consider some of the activities that a private investigator might pursue.

Private investigators have access to numerous surveillance techniques and gadgets plus a rolodex of contacts and informants. Private investigators are ready to act 24/7. An experienced private investigator has walked and talked the workers compensation gig before so they know what clues to look for and expose. They are also known to be tenacious and objective which is why they are hired…to save the insurance company time and money.

As a worker’s compensation claimant, do not have conversations with your employer, your employer’s insurance company, or that concerned stranger you meet in the gas station. Also instruct your family members to do likewise.

Retaining the services of a worker’s compensation law firm, and referring all inquiries to them is the smartest thing you can do. Don’t skimp on legal consultation; your employer already has that base covered.


About the Statute of Limitations

If you are not a client and need legal advice or would like to discuss representation, please contact one of our attorneys to discuss your individual questions. We only provide legal advice to people who have signed a written agreement retaining our legal services. If you want to pursue a claim, you should not delay in hiring a lawyer. Please be advised that each state has a different statute of limitations within which suit must be filed. If you fail to timely file suit within your state's statute of limitations you may be forever barred from later bringing a claim.

We offer this information as a public service to those interested in Workers Compensation news. This newsletter is not legal advice and should only be considered as general information.

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