Employee fraud always seems to make the headlines. Recently, a postal worker claimed that she was unable to “stand, sit, kneel, squat, climb, bend, reach, grasp or lift mail trays” as a result of a workplace injury. She was, however, able to appear on The Price Is Right and spin the “big wheel” twice. However, despite the headlines, employer workers’ compensation fraud is a much more serious problem.
To save money, some companies classify their workers as “independent contractors” instead of employees. The stakes are high. According to one estimate, employers can shave as much as 30 percent off their payroll costs through misclassification.
While the companies save money, their workers pay the price. Since only “employees” count when determining a firm’s workers’ compensation premium, misclassification takes money out of the system. Fewer resources mean lower payouts and more aggressive insurance agents that look for ways to deny claims. An experienced attorney is accustomed to dealing with these situations and can serve as a strong advocate for you to help you obtain fair compensation for your workplace injury.
Some companies intentionally mislabel their employees to illegally save money on premium payments. For example, a firm may report a construction worker as a driver or an office worker. Since the lower-risk job title means a lower premium payment, the effect is the same. There is less money in the system, and that can mean less money for injured victims.
When injured workers report the incident to their supervisors, many companies may offer to pay the workers’ medical bills, plus a few dollars extra, if the workers do not file comp claims. This offer may seem very tempting to some. Instead of navigating the time-consuming workers’ compensation process, the worker gets cash straightaway. It seems that no one gets hurt.
But workers’ compensation is an insurance plan, just like any other. And we all know that premium payments generally rise when a policyholder reports a claim to the insurance company. If there is no claim, there is no premium increase, and the company is not paying its fair share. In the end, injured victims lose again.
It may seem like the workers’ compensation system is stacked against injured victims. For a free consultation with a New Braunfels workers’ comp attorney who levels the playing field, contact our office. The Bettersworth Law Firm assists clients throughout Texas, including New Braunfels, Austin, San Antonio, and Seguin.