How Employers Defraud Their Employees of Their Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Workers’ compensation, on the part of the employer, is a very costly expense. At the same time, it is an unnecessary and avoidable expense – so why pay it if it can be avoided, right?
Generally, there’s nothing wrong with avoiding workers’ compensation costs. In fact, it’s normal.
There are ethical ways an employer can do to avoid the costs of workers’ compensation. One way is to simply make their workplace safe. Is the office building safe? Are the fire exits ready in case of emergency? Are employees properly trained to handle emergency situations?
Employers can also avoid workers’ comp costs by ensuring their employees use quality tools and machinery for their work. This doesn’t only benefit the employer, but also their employees for their health and safety.
But some employers avoid workers’ comp costs in an unethical and sometimes, even illegal ways. They usually do this to try to save money and to boost their profit. Here are some unethical and/or illegal ways employers do to rob you of your workers’ compensation:
1) Your employer deny your workers’ comp claim because you’re at fault for your own injury
This reasoning makes sense. After all, if it is your fault that you are injured or disabled, then who are you to claim for workers’ compensation benefits?
However, under the law, workers’ compensation is considered a no-fault system. This means that you can claim for workers’ compensation – regardless of who’s at fault, whether it’s you, your employer or a third-party, if any. In other words, just because it’s your fault does not mean your workers’ comp claim should be denied.
However, this does not mean you can abuse this. If you are clearly reckless in your actions that caused your injury, your workers’ compensation claim can be denied.
2) Your employer insists that you don’t really have an injury or it is not related to your work
Some employers will try to argue that you either don’t have any serious injury or that the injury is not work-related.
Of course, your employer may or may not have a good reason for this claim, but assuming your case is valid, then that is one red flag that your employer is trying to rob you off your workers’ comp.
3) You are misclassified as an independent contractor
Or basically, you are not classified as an employee. But what does your classification have to do with workers’ comp? In workers’ compensation, one requirement for you to be eligible for claiming workers’ comp is that, you should be classified as an employee. Not all workers are classified as employees – independent contractors (such as freelancers) and volunteers are example of these.
If you are not legally classified as an employee, then you are automatically not eligible for workers’ compensation (with some exceptions). However, some employees should be legally classified as employees but their employers misclassify them to avoid paying for their workers’ compensation.
4) Lying about job safety conditions
Some employers lie about the safety condition of their workplace and job responsibility to their insurance companies to avoid paying too much in premiums. The riskier the job or work condition towards injury or illness, the more expensive it is. So employers lie about it to reduce the cost of their premiums.
5) Your employer does not have a workers’ compensation insurance (or is insufficient)
Some employers simply have inadequate or no workers’ compensation insurance at all. Without it, they cannot compensate you for your injuries.
However, many employers understand that lack of workers’ comp insurance can lead them to legal trouble because most states in the US require employers to purchase a certain amount of workers’ comp insurance (so far, Texas is the only state that does not require workers’ comp insurance to their employers). Therefore, most employers secure worker’s comp insurances to avoid any legal troubles.
Some employers try to rob you off your workers’ compensation benefits to save money and boost their earnings. These are just some of the common misconduct they do in doing such.
If you think that your employer is trying to defraud you, find a local Long Beach workers’ compensation lawyer near you to help you assess if your employer is truly defrauding you or not. If so, your workers’ comp lawyer can help you with the legal complexities that may come along.
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