Workers’ comp laws in some states do contain provisions to discourage employees from trying to cheat the system. Here’s one example:
A worker injured his back on the job while lifting boxes. He had substantial back surgery and received workers’ comp benefits because he wasn’t able to work.
The employee said due to pain in his leg from his back injury, he walked with a limp most of the time and that his activities were extremely limited. He said he could only “lift a little.”
However, video from the insurance company showed him bending, picking up and swinging his grandchildren, among other activities.
When he saw the insurance carrier’s doctor, he walked with a severe limp. However the doctor watched him walk out to the parking lot with only a slight limp.
The Workers’ Compensation Board in New York state ruled that, because of his exaggeration, benefits were cut off. But that’s not all.
The Board also, under law, has the discretion to disqualify someone from receiving any future workers’ comp benefits even if the person suffers a compensable injury in the future, and did so in this case.
The worker appealed to a state court which affirmed the comp board’s decision.
Do you think relating this story to employees during a safety meeting would discourage employees from trying to become comp cheats? Let us know in the Comments Box below.
Cite: Church v. Arrow Electric, 3rd App. Div. NY Supreme Crt., No. 503836, 1/7/10 (PDF).