It’s critical that construction firms employ licensed contractors and subcontractors and ensure that every worker on a job is covered with workers’ compensation insurance. If an uncovered worker is reported or injured on your jobsite, the ramifications can be extremely serious, resulting in excessive fines, raised premiums, and a stop-work order in Florida.
In this two-part article, construction attorneys with Cotney Construction Law are discussing workers’ compensation fraud. In the first part, we covered common ways that employees and employers cheat the system. In this section, we will discuss investigation tactics from government agencies, insurance companies, and third party investigators. It’s critical for you to understand the investigation process to ensure that your business is protected. The best place to start is by contacting a stop-work order attorney in Florida.
Workers’ Compensation Investigation Tactics
Fraudulent disability payments not only impact a business or a construction project. They also impact the economy. When workers’ compensation fraud is reported or believed to have occurred, an investigator will perform the following tasks:
Recordkeeping: Whether or not a misclassification investigation is conducted by the Department of Labor (DOL), another government agency, or an insurance company, one of the first things the investigator will want to do is evaluate all relevant company records. Employers are legally obligated to keep valuable documents related to employee records, worker medical history, and background checks. Employers that lack sufficient records of their employees will be penalized.
Interviews: The DOL or other government agencies have a right to request interviews with the employer or the workforce to assist with their investigation. If your jobsite has been contacted by an agency requesting to speak to employees, employers should immediately consult an attorney for legal advice. Moreover, your attorney can be present during an investigation.
Background: An investigator can uncover whether an employer has a history of misclassifying employees or if an employee has made several fraudulent claims in the past. Regardless of which side of a workers’ compensation claim is being investigated (employer or employee), the investigator will utilize all of the resources available to them to assist with determining whether fraud occurred. In other words, a history of fraudulent behavior will be relevant during an investigation.
Collecting Evidence: Evidence can be gathered through several legal means, including reviewing any surveillance footage related to an accident on the jobsite. Another example would be if a worker is out on medical leave and posting pictures on their Facebook account of themselves powerlifting, hiking, or performing some other physical activity. In other cases, an allegedly injured worker will have a side business like lawn maintenance that requires physical activity. Regardless, this information can impact a case.
Workers’ compensation fraud is a serious issue in construction. Whether it’s assistance with recordkeeping, advice during an investigation, or aggressive defense, consult an attorney to ensure that your business is protected and compliant with these laws.
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.