A Woburn, Massachusetts business owner faces four charges of workers’ compensation fraud and three counts of larceny after investigators said he underreported the number of his employees to hold down his insurance premium. The 50-year-old-owner of a Massachusetts tree service was charged after an employee was crushed and seriously injured by a falling tree while on the job. The Insurance Fraud Bureau of Massachusetts referred the case to the Attorney General’s Office after an investigation into the injured employee’s insurance claim.
The full story is here.
According to authorities, the tree service owner underreported the number of his employees to his workers’ compensation carrier. Business owners sometimes do this to avoid paying higher insurance premiums. Investigators said that the owner reported that he was the only employee of the company when in fact he employed two full-time employees and other part-time or sporadic employees over a four-year period. As a result, investigators said, the owner underpaid his insurance carrier by $42,115. His insurance carrier made more than $700,000 in medical and disability payments to the injured employee.
High Costs Of Inaccurate Reporting by Employers
When an employer fails to accurately report the number of employees, the employer may save money in the short run, but everyone pays in the long run. More important, it puts employees at risk of not being covered if they are injured while on the job. The $700,000 in medical and disability payments that the insurance carrier paid to the injured tree service employee will be passed on to employers and ultimately employees in some form.
Your Right To Information
Most employees assume that they are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. This is a reasonable assumption, because the law requires almost all employers to carry workers’ compensation coverage on almost all employees in the state of Massachusetts. As an employee, you have a right to ask your employer for workers’ compensation carrier information.
If you are injured on the job, your employer has a legal obligation to provide you with the insurance carrier’s name and contact information. In fact, Massachusetts law requires your employer to have a Notice to Employees poster in the workplace that provides you with the relevant information. Your employer should also provide you with a claim form or should file a claim on your behalf if you are injured on the job.
If you are involved in an accident on the job, and your employer refuses to provide you with the appropriate information or forms, then you should be concerned. If your employer tries to steer you away from seeking medical care, tries to pay you directly for time off work, or otherwise appears to be circumventing the workers’ compensation system, there may be a problem.
Contact a Massachusetts Workplace Accident Attorney if You Have Concerns
If you are concerned that your valid workers’ compensation claim will not be paid because your employer has underreported employees, or is not carrying workers’ compensation coverage at all, you should seek legal advice. The Department of Industrial Accidents, or DIA, is responsible for processing workers’ compensation claims in Massachusetts. The DIA may be able to help. In addition, the Massachusetts workplace injury lawyers at Kantrovitz& Associates, P.C. are here to help. If you need assistance with filing a claim or appealing a denial, we can be reached by calling 800-367-0871 or by using our online contact form.