There is a myth that many workers’ compensation claims are filed fraudulently by devious employees trying to get an easy payday by faking an injury. This myth is so persistent that many honest workers who could use benefits after a work injury hesitate to file a claim for fear that they will be accused of lying. In reality, statistics show that very little employee workers’ compensation fraud actually happens.
What Workers’ Compensation Fraud Actually Looks Like
Workers’ compensation fraud may involve a worker faking an injury. However, it is more likely to involve a worker attributing an injury suffered outside of the workplace to work activities or making false statements to a doctor in order to increase or prolong benefits. According to an article from PBS though, none of these are very common.
The truth is that only one or two percent of all workers’ compensation claims are found to be fraudulent. Workers’ compensation fraud committed by employees is a rarity. On the other hand, the article points out that there are other forms of workers’ compensation fraud, which are committed by insurers and employers, that are substantially more costly than those few committed by employees. In fact, the article mentions that one audit found more than 13% of businesses operating without necessary workers’ compensation coverage, leaving injured workers without any options for getting needed benefits.
One of the reasons for the persistence of the myth is perception. Many people believe they have seen or know that someone, a coworker perhaps, is engaged in activities that they should not be while they are receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Of course, these people may not be aware of the injured worker’s exact doctor-ordered restrictions and whether they are actually being violated. Evidence indicates that they are not.
People who have suffered legitimate workplace injuries should not let myths and misconceptions prevent them from getting the benefits necessary to cover medical bills, lost wages and other costs. Workers’ compensation is not a financial windfall, but a critical program designed to help people in challenging situations.