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When Workers Fake Injuries Part 2

Workplace health and safety is a topic that every employer needs to take seriously. Thousands of workers experience significant injuries on the job annually. As we discussed in the first section of this two-part article, in some cases, workers take advantage of workers’ compensation laws. They may even obtain support for their claim from a medical professional. If you’re an employer that has any questions pertaining to workers’ compensation laws, contact a workers’ compensation defense attorney in Florida.

Detecting a False Claim

Although you should always take a workers’ compensation claim seriously, it’s important to also analyze the situation and at least look for red flags pertaining to an employee that may be filing a false claim. Here are some telltale signs that employees were not injured at work:

  • Questionable Timing: Did the worker report the injury several weeks or months after the date the injury allegedly transpired? Was this a Monday morning report? Many workers are injured over the weekend or away from work, but file a claim anyways.
  • Disgruntled Employee: Has this worker been involved in recent workplace conflicts or had issues with management? Has the worker recently made any paid time off requests or showcased behavioral issues? Unfortunately, some difficult workers fake injuries to get paid time away from work.
  • Accountability: Were there workers present when the worker was injured? Is the worker consistent about what exactly transpired? If the details of the story change and nobody observed the injury, it’s difficult to take the employee’s word for it.
  • Uncooperative: Is the worker refusing to undergo the necessary medical tests to validate their injury? Are they unwilling to perform less labor intensive work tasks? If the worker is reluctant to go through the appropriate motions, they may be hiding something.
  • History: Does this worker have an employment history that includes previous claims, litigation, or similar workplace incidents? This is another indicator that the employee’s claim may be false.

Consult With Legal Experts

Whether your employee was injured outside the workplace, greatly exaggerated an alleged workplace injury, completely fabricated an injury, or is seeking treatment for an old injury, employers should not have to compensate a worker that is dishonest and taking advantage of the system. For any workers’ compensation concerns, employers should consult our law firm. Our lawyers can analyze your case and provide you with legal insight that protects your business.

If you would like to speak with a Florida workers’ compensation defense lawyer, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Thousands of injuries transpire every year in American workplaces. Naturally, a small percentage of these reported injuries are dishonest. Unfortunately, some workers manipulate the system in order to be compensated for time away from the job. In this two-part article series, we will discuss many aspects of a fraudulent workers’ compensation claim. In the second section, we will discuss some of the ways to detect an illegitimate injury claim at your workplace. If you are an employer and need to consult with a legal expert that specializes in Florida workers’ compensation law, contact our law firm today.

False Claims Affect Businesses

By design, Florida workers’ compensation rules were created to provide employees that are injured on the job with insurance benefits that can support them while they are away from work recovering. Medical expenses and lost wages are the primary ways an injured employee is assisted during their recuperating process. When worker’s compensation claims are wrongfully distributed, these false claims are simply bad for business. Workers’ compensation causes premiums to increase, lower the working capital of a business, impact workforce wages, and also affect the consumer as businesses need to raise prices in order to recover lost profits.

What is the Worker’s Motive?

The primary reason why an employee files a bogus claim is that they essentially want “free money.” In some cases, they may have another source of income or a side business that they are trying to launch while receiving income from their workers’ compensation claim. An employee may go on a great trip “while recovering” or simply want paid time off. Many employees actually have an ailment; however, their injury is an old, lingering one from well before they worked at your business. Regardless, they desire treatment and file a claim. There are countless reasons why an employee could file a false claim.

Unethical Professionals

In many cases, a fraudulent claim is a team effort. For example, an allegedly injured employee will go to a medical clinic or chiropractor and seek unnecessary treatment, or the cost of the treatment will be blatantly overpriced. Whether the employee is misdiagnosed with an injury, the status of the injury is exaggerated, or the injury is completely made up, it’s a sad fact that many fraudulent claims are backed by plaintiff’s attorneys and questionable medical practitioners. Unfortunately, in some cases, the money-making scheme of a fraudulent claim stretches far beyond the employee claiming they are injured.

If you are interested in learning more about Florida workers’ compensation law, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Now more than ever, employees desire to know about the intentions, motivations, and decisions of their company leaders. Companies that are willing to be more open with their employees will see an improvement in their work culture.

This is why transparency is so valuable. Transparency is a willingness to be open about information, and it is necessary for various areas of your business including the hiring process, contract negotiations, safety practices, the bidding process, and other pertinent areas. Our Brandon construction attorneys will share the benefits of transparency and tips for improving transparency within your company.

Benefits of Transparency

Transparency is good for a company’s culture. Without it, your employees will not feel valued. When transparency is promoted you will build a culture of trust which leads to more efficient and successful projects. The benefits of transparency include:

  • More authentic work relationships
  • A more engaged workforce
  • A more productive workforce
  • Faster problem solving
  • Increased trust in leadership
  • A clearer understanding of the company’s mission and goals
  • An understanding of company policies and procedures

The Keys to Improving Transparency

Construction projects require the involvement of many parties so there is always the potential for miscommunication and for things to fall through the cracks. A great deal of communication is necessary to meet project goals. Here are some tactics for improving transparency:

  • Hold everyone accountable
  • Provide timely responses
  • Have an open door policy
  • Make company performance measures accessible
  • Produce daily reports and keep detailed records
  • Give constructive criticism and encourage honest feedback

Your employees are the backbone of your construction operation. Transparency builds trust and a more positive company reputation. A lack of transparency can lead to a myriad of issues including situations that require legal intervention from a Brandon construction attorney.

If you would like to speak with a Brandon construction lawyer, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

In this three-part series, our Florida contractor attorneys are discussing the art of the demand letter. In the first section, we discussed why sending a demand letter can be a quick and cost-effective way to resolve a dispute. In the second section, we provided you with some important information to include in this document. In this final section, we will explain why you should employ a Florida contractor attorney to create your demand.

The Balancing Act

Demand letters must be formal, but also polite. Along with a polished and professional tone, it’s extremely important to not sound threatening in your letter. For contractors, seeking payment from an owner can be extremely personal. Hiring an attorney to craft your demand letter has many benefits.

Here are a few reasons why you should have an attorney create your demand letter:

  • Diplomatic: You are removing the “personal” part of the equation. An experienced attorney will know how to be assertive, but in a professional tone. An attorney will also understand the language to use in the letter and the right aesthetics so it looks professional.
  • Shows Your Intent: If a person receives a letter from an attorney rather than the affected party, this shows that the affected party has already taken the next step by contacting a lawyer and are serious about pursuing legal action. This should get the recipient’s attention.
  • Legal Background: Your lawyer has experience in similar cases and can reference the specific laws that were broken or clauses violated in your contract. As we mentioned earlier in this series, because this document can be an exhibit in a case, having a lawyer create your demand can be beneficial in litigation.

Call to Action

One final thing that every demand letter should feature is what the next course of action will be if the demand for payment is ignored. In other words, you are stating that you are willing to take legal action against the owner if they fail to comply with your demand for payment. Even if your demand letter is ignored by the recipient, sending one before pursuing litigation only strengthens your case as this shows that the recipient willfully ignored every opportunity to compensate you for your hard work.

Along with having your attorney create your demand letter, contact Cotney Construction Law to draft, review, and revise all of your contracts. This can be an effective way to ensure you receive payment for all of your projects.

If you would like to speak with a Florida contractor attorney, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

When an owner owes a contractor money, this can lead to a lot of stress. Perhaps subcontractors need to be compensated, or maybe this lack of payment results in not having enough working capital to invest in other projects. There are many negative consequences that can transpire because of an owner’s refusal to make payment. Fortunately, a Florida contractor lawyer is here to assist you.

In this three-part article series, we are discussing the art of the demand letter. As we discussed in the first section, this legal document notifies the owner that you are owed compensation and that you are considering legal action if you remain unpaid. In this section, we will feature many of the elements that make up a well-written demand letter.

Diplomatic and Direct

Demand letters should be diplomatic, but direct. It’s important to create a well-defined foundation of what exactly transpired and why you are owed compensation. You want to chronologically list what happened in what order, how this led to the dispute, and why you have a great legal argument if presented to a court. If the owner was in violation of your contract, the clauses that were breached should be referenced and attached as exhibits to the letter as well. Again, this document should be clearly worded and include all of the relevant issues related to your case.

Clearly Define a Payment Plan

Along with presenting your prospective case, the demand letter should also make a specific request of how you want to resolve the dispute. For example, if owed payment, the letter should entail the exact amount of money you are owed, how you came to this total (along with other exhibits like invoices or your contract), the requested deadline to receive payment, and the form of payment you want to receive.

Here are a few other things to consider when sending an owner a demand letter:

  • Keep extra copies of all legal documents including any communication you have with the recipient of your letter
  • Send the demand letter in a timely fashion
  • Have your letter mailed to the recipient and utilize a mailing service that requires a signature verification to obtain the document
  • Request that the recipient contact your attorney to verify that they received the letter

As we will discuss in more detail in the third section, your demand letter also needs a call to action. In other words, if the owner refuses to agree to your demand request, it’s best to specifically state what the next legal step will be in order to seek compensation.

If you would like to speak with one of our Florida contractor lawyers, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Contractors have many concerns. Whether it’s dealing with an OSHA citation, construction defect, defamation claim, or any other type of dispute, a South FL contractor lawyer is here to assist you. However, perhaps the biggest concern a contractor faces is an owner that is behind in payments or simply refuses to compensate the contractor for their hard work.

If this has happened to you, there are a few different options you can take to recover your money. Perhaps the best place to begin, along with being the most cost-effective way, is to send the owner a demand letter requesting payment.

What’s a Demand Letter?

The demand letter is a way to show the recipient that you mean business. For example, when requesting payment from an owner, the demand letter outlines your legal argument pertaining to the dispute. This clearly worded document is essentially the CliffsNotes to your prospective case. Chances are if you are sending an owner a demand letter that you have already tried to speak with them. Unlike different types of verbal communication, demand letters are effective because they establish a record in writing and can be used as an exhibit in a court of law. They also show that you made an honest effort in good faith to resolve the dispute before litigation.

Are Demand Letters Effective?

If demand letters were effective every single time, there would be no need for litigation. With that being said, a demand letter can be extremely helpful and at least establishes in writing that you should be compensated and that you are willing to take legal action if you are not. At the very least, this should get the attention of the other party and confirm that you are “serious” about being paid. Of course, this will cause the owner to consider all of the potential legal expenses they could incur if they refuse to compensate you for what you are owed.

When receiving a demand letter, some owners will nip the problem in the bud and quickly pay while others will ignore the letter. It honestly may depend on the relationship the contractor has with the owner and whether or not there is potential business together moving forward. Either way, if you are owed money, sending a demand letter is a step in the right direction to seeking payment.

For more information on demand letters, please read sections two and three.

If you would like to speak with one of our South FL contractor lawyers, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

As a business owner, you started your company, managed the daily operations, and grew your business into a successful enterprise. Perhaps one thing you never considered was your exit strategy. If you are considering retiring in the next few years, you need the services of a legal expert that specializes in corporate succession planning in Tampa.

Comprehensive Strategies for Your Business

A succession plan is the strategy you develop that protects you and your company’s interests for the future. A business succession planning attorney in Tampa can help you navigate through an ownership transition and ensure that your company’s value remains intact. Without the right strategy in place, your own best interest and the company’s future may be compromised.

What’s Does a Succession Plan Cover?

Succession planning is extremely comprehensive and a well-devised strategy can cover a variety of critical issues for your business and your retirement plan. Here are some of the benefits of hiring a succession planning attorney:

  • Company Culture and Vision: There are many questions that need to be answered before an ownership transition. What are the company goals presently and in the future? How are the shareholders and employees impacted during this transition? An attorney that specializes in succession planning can help determine the right answer to these questions.
  • Third Party Specialist: As developing a succession plan can be personal and emotional for everyone involved in the business (the owner, employees, and shareholders), a legal expert can focus strictly on how to achieve the most favorable outcome for your business, plus their judgement is not clouded by their emotional investment in the company.
  • Invaluable Services: Whether it’s appointing a successor, obtaining an accurate business valuation, or maximizing your transfer value, your succession planning attorney can provide a suite of invaluable services as you relinquish ownership of your business.

Transferring Your Business

When you begin the process of developing a succession plan, you may already have in mind how you want to transfer your business. Here are some of the most common ways a business is transferred from one entity to another:

  • Retention: For many business owners, they have a family member that is ready to manage the business. This is called a retention plan.
  • Buy-Sell Retention: If you want to shift ownership control of the company to one of your best employees or another shareholder (and keep some interest), you can use a buy-sell retention plan.
  • Merger and Acquisitions: Even if you are not looking to retire, some businesses want to merge with another company; while others want to either acquire a smaller company or be acquired by a larger company. Regardless, we can assist you with any type of transfer of your business.

If you would like to speak with a business succession planning attorney in Tampa, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

As new technologies change the way professionals approach construction projects, it’s important to always consider effective ways you can adapt your process to best align with these changes. Although it may not be a primary concern of contractors, this includes the way we view and utilize social media platforms. In the first and second sections of this four-part series, we discussed the many benefits of having an online marketing presence for your business. In the third section, we offered some tips on ways you can avoid liability by coordinating a social media strategy and training employees on what they can and cannot post.

In this final section, we will discuss the importance of adjusting your employment contracts by creating a social media policy for your business. At the end of the day, social media can be an amazing way to benefit your construction business; however, you must do your best to eliminate social media gaffes from transpiring to ensure your business is protected from any legal action. Remember, for drafted and revised construction contracts, speak with an Orlando construction lawyer today.

Entering a Brave New World

Smartphone technology is reaching new heights, and with all of your workers having easy access to a phone with impressive image quality and video capabilities, controlling what information is publicly shared from your workplace has many new and unique challenges. The best place to begin the process of prohibiting classified information from being leaked is by contacting an Orlando construction attorney to draft a clause in your employment contract pertaining to social media access at work.

Three Reasons Why You Should Implement a Social Media Policy

Establishing social media policies in your employment contracts comes with many benefits. First, in the pre-employment stage, you are outlining the expectations and responsibilities of the employee in regard to their conduct utilizing social media at the workplace. Second, you are safeguarding your company’s best interests. As construction is a competitive field with a great deal of confidential information shared at the jobsite, you need to be certain that no employees are sharing this information on a public platform. Lastly, creating social media policies can help mitigate the chances of your business facing serious liability issues.

It’s an exciting time in construction where companies can market their business successfully utilizing social media platforms. At Cotney Construction Law, we encourage construction businesses to embrace this technology and use it to their benefit. With that being said, it’s important to adjust your company policies to align with these technological advancements and to ensure everyone on your jobsite understands your social media policy.

If you would like to speak with an Orlando construction attorney, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Boosting the number of women working in the construction industry will help mend the labor shortage and usher in a new age of inclusion in one of the world’s most historically male-dominated industries.

In part one of this two-part series, our Memphis contractor lawyers examined the role of women in the construction industry and learned about one woman’s life-changing summer spent installing smoke detectors and hauling heavy materials. In part two, we will continue to explore stories of women in construction and examine the alarming statistics that help illustrate the acute shortage of women in construction.

Women Making Waves in the Construction Industry

Despite being a male-dominated industry, contractors and other construction professionals are more than happy to welcome women to the project site. With a startling labor shortage and low rate of productivity chipping away at profits, the construction industry needs more skilled workers, not more male workers, to help combat the constantly growing pile of projects overburdening construction professionals. Although women only make up 9% of the industry’s workforce, some women are making names for themselves by taking a proactive approach to the challenges facing the construction industry. These women include:

  • Katie Coulson: The Skanska USA Vice President has spent 24 years working in the construction industry in an array of roles including managing large projects from the field in the Pacific Northwest. She currently helps lead the Portland, Oregon chapter of the Skanska Women’s Network.
  • Tamara Rivera: The first woman ever hired as a council representative for the New York City District Council of Carpenters has spent 24 years working in carpentry. She is also active in Sisters in the Brotherhood, an organization with goals that include getting more women involved in carpentry.
  • Stacey Pray: The President and Founder of SHP Project Development has worked in healthcare construction project management for 23 years. Her inclusive workforce always maintains at least 50 percent women in her employ.

Running the Numbers on Women in Construction

Women account for 9 percent of construction industry employees, and nearly half of those positions are located in offices. In 2015, women working in construction made up 1.3 percent of the entire U.S. workforce. Construction is a significant contributor to the U.S. economy and employs over 10 million people annually. According to the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), women in the U.S. only earn 81.1 percent of what men make, but in the construction industry, women earn on average 95.7 percent of what their male counterparts earn. Women are already making great contributions to the construction industry. If more women get involved in construction, it could boost productivity and help fight the labor shortage.

If you would like to speak with a Memphis contractor lawyer, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

In section one and two of this four-part series, we discussed many of the reasons why your construction company should be utilizing social media applications to bolster your business. Whether it’s LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, there are many benefits to promoting your business using social media platforms. Of course, sometimes the simplicity of using these applications can land you in hot water as well.

As we will discuss in this section and the final section, although you should embrace and integrate social media into your business model, you must also adjust your employment policies and exercise extreme caution when posting online for liability reasons. Remember, if you have a construction-related legal matter, one of our Orlando construction attorneys is here to help you.

Be Wary of What You Post

Libel and copyright infringement are two things you never want associated with your business. When you are endorsing your brand, it’s important to avoid violating the law. For example, are you publishing someone else’s work to promote your business without their consent? Are you saying negative things about the competition that could be considered defamatory or affect their business? As you can observe from the social media mishaps of celebrities and other businesses, even when you delete a post, the problem isn’t necessarily erased with it.

Avoiding Social Media Gaffes

It’s critical that you coordinate your content to go out on social media in advance and ensure that it’s being monitored by a construction industry professional. In many cases, a construction company will hire a marketing professional that creates the content (strategy, writing, pictures) and uploads it. Without a knowledgeable construction professional reviewing the content, a serious issue can arise. For example, a worker featured in a picture on Facebook may not be wearing the right safety equipment while working. Construction companies must mitigate these risks by eliminating the “immediate post” from their repertoire. All content should be reviewed before publication.

Training Workers in Social Media

Although the concept of training an employee to manage a Facebook page may seem like a silly, time-consuming procedure, companies need to make certain that the person they are relying on to represent their brand is worthy of this responsibility and aware of what they can and cannot post. Further, all workers located on a jobsite need to understand the company’s social media policies, and they need to be aware that they are not allowed to post proprietary information including pictures of the workplace. Never assume that just because your workers understand how to use social media, they will use it wisely.

If you would like to speak with one of our Orlando construction lawyers, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.