Workers’ compensation fraud is not funny. Luckily, it is also pretty rare. I have had very few clients caught on video doing something they claimed they couldn’t do, but I could count them on one hand. That is pretty good for an 18 year career so far.
But sometimes, a workers’ comp fraud case is so funny it gets in the news. Today, there is a report out of California about a woman on workers’ comp from her grocery store job. She had a broken toe, and claimed she could not stand up, or even wear shoes.
Well it turns out she had a miraculous recovery when she competed in beauty pageants wearing high heeled shoes and strutting down the catwalk. Oops! And of course, those events were recorded for Youtube, and she bragged about her competitions on social media. She is now charged with the crime of workers’ comp fraud.
If the insurance company thinks you are scamming the system, they will send private investigators to take some video of you. Most of the time, they will cut off your benefits and that is that. At a hearing, they show the tape, you will leave embarrassed, and quickly settle your comp claim. But if your fraud is particularly egregious, they can refer you to the local State’s Attorney’s office for criminal charges.
That happened to one of my clients once, but the adjuster was waaaayyyy out of line in bringing the charges in that particular case. We proved it to the Workers’ Comp Commission, and the State’s Attorney dismissed the criminal charges over the insurance companies objections.
But if you do something really stupid – newsworthy stupid – I am sure they won’t hesitate to make an example out of you. That is what it seems is happening to this woman in the news today. She is the example case for all the world to see, and talk about. And let’s be honest – laugh at.