Workers’ compensation fraud isn’t a high-profile crime. Many people have only a vague awareness that it’s a crime, and may not even know exactly what constitutes workers’ comp fraud. But, as a handful of recent news stories illustrate, understanding and following the rules is critical for an injured Ohio worker.
Long & Short-Term Workers’ Compensation Fraud
On March 13, a North Royalton man was sentenced to 7 months in prison and three years of probation and was ordered to pay back more than $167,000 in workers’ compensation benefits and nearly $78,000 in Social Security.
In Louis C. Cooper’s case, the alleged fraud was long-term. Investigators say he began working as a general contractor but requesting indirect payment as early as 2010 while reporting to both the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) and the Social Security Administration (SSA) that his injuries prevented him from working.
But, not all workers’ compensation fraud is enduring or involves large amounts of money. Under Ohio law, a person is guilty of workers’ compensation fraud if he or she—with purpose to defraud or knowing that he or she is facilitating a fraud—receives workers’ compensation benefits the person is not entitled to. And, that’s just one of the actions falling under the workers’ compensation fraud statute.
What Constitutes Workers’ Compensation Fraud
The BWC provides this brief summary:
Workers’ compensation fraud occurs when someone knowingly makes a false representation of a material fact to obtain or to deny workers’ compensation benefits or to avoid responsibility under the law.
For example, this may include:
- Overstating injuries or limitations
- Concealing records that could be detrimental to a claim
- Claiming an injury was sustained on the job when it actually occurred elsewhere
- Working “under the table” while collecting TTD benefits
Of course, most workers’ compensation claimants understand that they are supposed to provide complete and accurate information. However, many do not realize that making misrepresentations or withholding evidence to secure benefits is a crime. In fact, if the amount of benefits fraudulently collected exceeds $1,000 in value, workers’ compensation fraud is a felony.
Protecting Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Honestly
When you’ve been seriously injured and need medical treatment and income to provide essentials for yourself and your family, it’s normal to be uncertain about the future and prepared to fight for medical care and other benefits.
Working with experienced workers’ compensation attorneys can help ensure that you fully exercise your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve legally. A knowledgeable attorney can guide you through the submission of thorough and accurate information, organized and presented in a way that will maximize your chances of recovery.
In addition to improving your chances of receiving fair compensation and the medical care you need, your attorney can help ensure that you have fully complied with your obligations under Ohio workers’ compensation law.
Give yourself the peace of mind that comes with having a seasoned advocate at your side through a stressful and sometimes contentious process.
The information presented in this post is not legal advice and does not form a lawyer/client relationship. Laws and circumstances can differ and change.
Please contact us for a personal review of your situation