Since my grandfather, James Powell, Sr., founded Powell Law in 1906, our attorneys have represented full-time, part-time, permanent, and temporary workers in workers’ compensation cases. During this 110 year period, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has had to continuously deal with attempts to defraud the workers’ compensation system. This presents a serious ongoing problem in that it results in an increased cost of doing business for employers. However, in trying to determine the main source of workers’ compensation fraud, misconceptions exist that workers are its primary cause.
Most people consider workers’ compensation fraud to typically occur in a few situations. An employee commits fraud by knowingly and intentionally receiving wages while collecting total disability benefits or receiving partial disability benefits in excess of the amount permitted while receiving wages. So if an allegedly injured worker maintains the ability to work despite her injury and continues to do so while receiving benefits, she has committed fraud.
Many experienced workers compensation attorneys know that fraud on the part of workers is just a small percentage of the total. Often the fraud involves cases in which a worker is examined by two doctors and each reaches a different conclusion: One declares that the patient is fully recovered and ready to return to work, while the other states that the worker remains symptomatic and is still unable to perform the job that she held prior to the injury’s occurrence. This tends to happen more times than one would expect The explanation for this has little to do with fraudulent intentions on the part of claimants.
Fraud also occurs on the part of employers and insurance companies. An employer commits fraud by understating wages or misclassifying employee job codes in order to reduce workers compensation insurance premiums. As any party that commits fraud is subject to civil or criminal penalties, it is reassuring to see that Pennsylvania district attorneys have targeted employers as well as employees who violate the state’s Workers’ Compensation Act.
Powell Law’s decades of experience make it the clear and obvious choice for representation in workers’ compensation matters in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area. Contact Powell Law at (570) 961-0777. The consultation is FREE and you don’t pay anything unless we win.