Fraud in a workers’ compensation case is something to be taken seriously. Across the country, including the state of Georgia, there have been numerous cases where employees have exaggerated job-related injuries to receive compensation. How do they get caught?
For help with legitimate on-the-job injuries, you should contact a workers’ compensation lawyer in Georgia.
Georgia’s Injured Workers Bill of Rights
The Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation requires employers to clearly post all information that is pertinent to filing a claim with workers’ compensation. There are posters that they receive that are supposed to be clearly posted within the view of employees.
Among these posters is the injured workers’ bill of rights. This lays out, in detail, the rights and the responsibilities of the injured employee.
Under the employee’s responsibility section, number 12 clearly outlines what happens if the employee is found guilty of workers’ compensation fraud. If found guilty it is a misdemeanor conviction that includes a fine of up to $10,000 and up to 12 months of imprisonment. Any and all false statements given by the person found guilty of fraud will be considered perjury in the eyes of the court.
When it is believed that someone is committing fraud on a workers’ compensation case, anyone can report their suspicions of the person. There are forms available online that can be filled out regarding these tips. Some insurance companies even offer rewards in cases where someone is convicted of workers’ compensation fraud from your tip.
When the tip comes in it is up to the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation to begin a formal investigation into the matter. There is a division that is devoted to this. A lot of times private investigators are brought in to look into the person in question.
Private investigators use a lot of tactics when trying to gather information and evidence for a fraud claim. The best way to avoid becoming subject to one of these investigations is to make sure that there is no doubt when you receive your benefits. Hire a workers’ compensation lawyer in Georgia who can help you make sure that your claim is legitimate from the beginning of the injury.
Avoiding a Fraud Charge in Your Workers’ Compensation Case
If a private investigator is hired by an insurance company for the purpose of investigating a fraud tip, you need to understand that this investigator is going to explore every aspect of your life to find cause for a fraud charge.
Follow your doctor’s orders- As long as you are following all of the orders and restrictions given to you by the doctor, you should be in the clear. Private investigators are likely lurking in the bushes with a camera waiting for you to come out of your door doing cartwheels across the lawn to prove that your work-related back injury is no longer an issue.
An investigator who gets proof that you are doing something you are not supposed to do based on doctor’s orders can use it against you in court.
Assume that every aspect of your life is under a microscope- This includes your relationships and people you may barely even know. Private investigators get a wealth of information from simply interviewing people in your life. These interviews often involve coworkers, friends, family, and neighbors.
Often times it is the smallest conversation with a neighbor that can cause the most trouble. If you are on a lifting restriction and the investigator interviewing your neighbor asks them if they have seen you take the trash out lately and they confirm that they have, this could be enough to get you charged with fraud.
Avoid being social media stupid- The world is obsessed with social media and documenting their every move these days. You better believe that if a private investigator is lurking in the shadows and interviewing the people in your life, they are digging through social media as well.
If you have a public profile, they don’t have to be your friend to see your posts and pictures. Make sure that you use social media wisely while you are under a workers’ compensation claim. If you are to be off of work for a month for a work-related injury, but you post a week after the claim goes through that you are on vacation and post a picture sipping a margarita on a boat. This is probably not going to end the way you want it to.
Always Know Your Rights in a Workers’ Compensation Case
If you end up with a workers’ compensation fraud claim against you, hire a workers’ compensation law firm in Georgia to oversee the proceedings. It could be a misinterpretation on behalf of the investigator, but it is important to make sure that you get a fair trial.