If you are injured or become ill as a result of your job in Massachusetts, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. The type, amount and duration of the benefits will depend on the specific facts and circumstances of your case. You may be tempted to fudge a little on the application or exaggerate your injury to extend or increase your benefits. Do not do this!
Workers’ Compensation Laws
It is very important for an injured worker to understand that the workers’ compensation laws are just that – laws. While they are in place to protect injured workers, they also provide civil and criminal penalties for both workers and employers who violate the laws. Some common examples of workers’ compensation violations include:
- Reporting an injury that did not occur.
- Claiming that injuries were suffered on the job when, in fact, they occurred outside the workplace.
- Exaggerating the severity of an injury.
- Continuing to claim weekly benefits when the injury has healed or the symptoms have lessened.
- Working “under the table” while collecting workers’ compensation injuries.
If you are a workers’ compensation claimant and you have the strange feeling of being watched, you may not be paranoid. Someone actually may be watching you. Workers’ compensation insurers often send out investigators to catch claimants doing something they shouldn’t, such as working at a job, cutting the grass while claiming to be ill, or walking the dog while claiming to be unable to walk. Workers’ compensation insurers lose a significant amount of money to fraud, so they have an incentive to pursue those who violate workers’ compensation laws.
Civil and Criminal Penalties
A worker who is caught violating a rule or law may face civil or criminal penalties. For starters, the Department of Industrial Accidents may suspend current benefits or deny future benefits. A worker could also be ordered to pay back benefits received for wage replacement or medical treatment. Finally, if the violation is serious enough, a worker could face criminal charges.
If you are a Massachusetts worker, and you have suffered an injury or illness, you may have a valid Massachusetts workers’ compensation claim, but you must proceed with caution. The rules can be confusing, causing an unintentional violation. If you are unsure where you stand under the workers’ compensation rules, or are concerned that you may have violated a rule, consult an experienced Massachusetts workplace injury attorney right away. To find out what legal options you have for a work-related injury, the workplace injury lawyers at Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C. can be reached by calling 800-367-0871 or by using our online contact form.