Workers’ compensation insurance companies in Illinois use a variety of tactics to try to deny injured employees’ claims for benefits. One of these tactics is to accuse employees of engaging in workers’ compensation fraud. In Illinois, workers’ compensation fraud is a criminal offense, and it can also lead to denial of benefits and financial liability. So, any accusations of fraud are an extremely serious matter. Whether you have just been injured or you have already had your claim denied, here is what you need to know about workers’ compensation fraud.
What is Workers’ Compensation Fraud?
While Illinois has a “no-fault” workers’ compensation system, this does not mean that payment of benefits is automatic. There are limitations on when eligible employees are entitled to claim benefits, and intentionally seeking to obtain benefits when no benefits are owed is a form of workers’ compensation fraud. Specifically, acts that can be prosecuted as workers’ compensation fraud and justify a denial of benefits include (but are not limited to):
- Making any false statement in order to obtain (or maintain) workers’ compensation benefits;
- Presenting medical bills for payment under workers’ compensation when no services were actually provided; and,
- Submitting false or forged medical records, test results, written statements or other forms of documentation in connection with a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
As an employee, it is your responsibility to ensure that you are submitting accurate information with your claim. This starts with the initial written notice of your injury, and continues through your final payment of benefits. While honest mistakes are unlikely to lead to criminal charges, they could very easily lead to delays or denial of your claim for benefits, and it is imperative that you not give your employer’s insurance company any excuse to withhold payment for your medical expenses and loss of income.
Tips for Avoiding Allegations of Workers’ Compensation Fraud
What can you do to help ensure that your workers’ compensation claim doesn’t get denied on the basis of fraud? Here are some tips from Chicago work injury lawyer Lawrence Jackowiak:
- Write down the details of your accident before you file your claim with your employer. Take your time to get the facts straight and make sure you have not omitted any key information.
- Avoid discussing the accident with anyone else at work. You do not want their versions of the events to sway what you write in your report.
- Choose a doctor who is experienced in handling work-related injuries, and be sure to let him or her know that you will be filing for workers’ compensation.
- Do not exaggerate when explaining what happened or how your injuries impact your life. The truth is likely more than enough to justify your claim for benefits.
- Hire an experienced work injury lawyer to handle your claim. Your attorney will be able to communicate on your behalf and help you avoid jeopardizing your financial recovery.
Speak With an Attorney at Jackowiak Law Offices about Your Work Injury
If you would like to speak with an attorney about your claim for workers’ compensation benefits, please feel free contact us for a confidential consultation. To speak with an experienced attorney at Jackowiak Law Offices for free, call (312) 795-9595 or tell us about your injury online now.