Revisiting Workers’ Compensation Fraud
When you were in a workplace accident, your workers’ compensation benefits were there to take care of your medical bills and lost wages. But for many, that is not the case. Many people abuse the system and get money for injuries they never had, or they do not receive the proper benefits or any money at all. Unfortunately, things like this happen all too often and in New Jersey, it is a serious crime.
In 1998, a bill was signed into law addressing some of these crimes. The Workers’ Compensation Fraud Act states that if a claimant who has “purposely or knowingly” made false or misleading claims in order to obtain benefits wrongfully will be charged with a fourth-degree crime. This means, if you committed and are found guilty of workers’ compensation fraud, the following punishments will happen to you:
- You will have to pay back the money you received plus interest and penalties
- You will be denied benefits going forward
- You will be forced to pay a fine up to $10,000
- Jail time up to 18 months is a possibility
But how does the Garden State determine if you are committing insurance fraud and if your claim is legitimate? It’s all in the wording of the act. There needs to be evidence “beyond a reasonable doubt” that you had intended to commit fraud. For example, you and your employer decide to file a false workers’ compensation claim. You stage an accident where a heavy object falls on your back. You go to your employer’s doctor who feels your injuries are not as severe as you say they are. However, a claim is filed on your behalf and you start getting payments. Eventually, someone starts looking into your case and questions the doctor about the severity of your injuries. In the meantime, your employer admits to wrongdoing. With the doctor’s testimony and your employer’s confession, you are now being considered for filing a fraudulent claim.
Aside from that example, there are many cases of fraud committed unknowingly. Whether it would be by the employee, employer, or both, it happens. After proper investigations into these kinds of matters, punishments are still to be had, but they will not be as severe as those who knowingly committed the worker’s compensation fraud.
Contact Our Law Offices
If you are being accused of workers’ compensation fraud, your freedoms and liberty are on the line. You will need an experienced attorney to help you. Contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone today for a free consultation.