You certainly want to take your employees at their word, especially when one of them claims to have suffered an injury on the job. You carry the appropriate workers’ compensation insurance for just such situations, and you are happy to have that safeguard in place when a worker becomes ill or injured.
As much as you hate to admit it, there is always the chance that one of your employees will fake an injury to fraudulently collect benefits from your workers’ compensation insurance. When this happens, everyone suffers. Workers’ comp fraud costs you money, time and resources, as well as jeopardizing the morale of your business and damaging the trust between you and your employees.
Recognizing workers’ comp fraud
You do not want to be the kind of employer who becomes suspicious when an employee claims an injury. However, you can be on the lookout for certain signs that may prompt you to investigate further for fraud:
- An employee whose version of the accident changes frequently
- An accident that occurs with no witnesses present
- A worker who is already a complainer or seems to try to get something for nothing on the job
- A worker who refuses to seek medical treatment or diagnostic tests to confirm an injury
- A worker who does not seem to be home during the time when he or she is supposedly recovering from injuries
- A worker who refuses to accept an offer of a light duty assignment or a return-to-work program
- An employee who has filed for workers’ compensation in the past
You can establish a positive work environment and do your part to keep your employees happy and satisfied. Often, this reduces the likelihood that a worker will try to take advantage of you. Additionally, your focus on safety in the workplace can reduce the opportunities for injury. You can also take the time to perform careful screenings of potential employees to determine if they were involved in sketchy workers’ comp claims in the past.
While you would never begrudge benefits to a worker who genuinely suffered injuries in the line of duty, claims against your workers’ compensation policy place you at risk of higher premiums and other expenses. You also must deal with the loss of an employee who is supposedly unable to work because of an injury. If you suspect an employee is committing fraud by claiming non-existent injuries or exaggerating minor injuries, you may wish to speak to a New York attorney about options for protecting your business.