Although Workers’ Compensation was designed and implemented into law to be beneficial to workers for injuries in the workplace, some individuals have abused the system to receive benefits without any actual injury.
Although it should be readily observable, Workers’ Compensation fraud is not only wrong, but very illegal. Under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 97-88.2, a person who is willfully makes a false statement or representation of a material fact for the purpose of obtaining or denying any benefit or payment, or assisting another to obtain or deny any benefit or payment is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor if the amount is less than $1,000. Anything larger than $1,000 is considered a Class H felony.
The Price Wasn’t Right
An example of egregious Workers’ Compensation fraud is the 2011 case of former postal worker, Cathy Wrench Cashwell, a resident of Fayetteville, NC. Ms. Cashwell claimed that she was not mobile enough to work due to the fact that she could not do simple tasks like standing or sitting. However, upon investigation, investigators found that Ms. Cashwell appeared on an episode of the TV show “The Price Is Right”, where she was capable of spinning the large prize wheel twice. Upon this revelation, Ms. Cashwell’s Workers’ Compensation claim was denied and Ms. Cashwell went on to plead guilty of fraud.
Although stories like Ms. Cashwell’s fraud are very publicized due to their attractiveness to media reporting, fraud does not only occur on the employee side of the Workers’ Compensation table, but also the employer side. Since an authorized Workers’ Compensation claim is paid for out of the employer’s insurance premium, there can be an incentive for employers to engage in fraud in order to reduce premium payments. As such, the North Carolina Industrial Commission’s Fraud Unit investigates claims of both employee and employer fraud.
Avoiding Any Implications of Fraud
Although you may have a legitimate Workers’ Compensation claim, it is important to not act in any manner that may be construed as fraudulent. As such, be aware that you may be investigated and observed, so running a marathon after claiming a knee injury will be detrimental to your claim and your freedom.
If you or someone you know has been injured while at work, you should Contact Us for a free Workers’ Compensation consultation. By contacting an experienced Worker’s Compensation attorney, you will receive valuable legal advice and an experienced guide through the complex Worker’s Compensation process.
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James Minick is a criminal defense attorney in Asheville, NC and is the owner of Minick Law, P.C.