Workers’ Compensation Fraud In Louisiana: Incidences And Statistics
Most people are familiar with the concept of testifying under “penalty of perjury”, meaning that statements made by a person in court under oath must be truthful, or there can be severe consequences. Furthermore, almost everyone surely understands the obligation to be honest in representations they make to governmental bodies, such as the Internal Revenue Service at tax time, in applying for governmental programs such as income and housing assistance, and in applying to obtain other necessary assistance, such as Social Security Disability Insurance. It is, therefore, likely no surprise that people and entities involved in the Louisiana workers’ compensation system or in a workers’ compensation case, have the same obligations to be truthful in the course of a workers’ compensation claim. The obligation to be truthful extends to both employers in denying a claim and to injured workers seeking workers’ compensation benefits.
Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Fraud Investigations and Applicable Law
Truthful claims by employees and truthful defenses of claims by employers, where applicable, are the heart of the Louisiana workers’ compensation system. Truthfulness throughout the Louisiana workers’ compensation process is so important, in fact, that the Louisiana Office of Workers’ Compensation maintains its own Fraud Section to investigate and prosecute Louisiana workers’ compensation fraud.
The Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Fraud Section investigates allegations of fraud with respect to both employees and employers. Importantly, under Louisiana workers’ compensation laws, it is unlawful for an employer or employee to knowingly and willfully make a false statement to obtain or to defend against a workers’ compensation benefit. If a Louisiana workers’ compensation Fraud Section investigation turns up such fraudulent activity, the penalty for a conviction under the law is quite serious. Violations of the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation laws include, but are not limited to fines ranging from $500 to $10,000, and can also result in imprisonment from 1 to 10 years.
Recent Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Fraud Investigations
In 2020, the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Fraud Section investigated two individuals who ultimately, in conjunction with the 19th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, ended in two criminal indictments. The individuals were both employee claimants seeking workers’ compensation benefits, and had “willfully made false statements and received fraudulent payments under the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act by allegedly concealing information that they were not working at the time they received worker’s [sic] compensation benefits.” The total amount of the indictments combined was close to $98,000.
Help with Workers’ Compensation Claims
The majority of people are honest and transparent when it comes to the Louisiana workers’ compensation process and simply just need help after being injured on the job. The Louisiana workers’ compensation system is complex, and it’s best to have an experienced Louisiana workers’ compensation lawyer on your side when seeking workers’ compensation benefits. If you have been injured on the job and are seeking workers’ compensation benefits, contact the experienced Louisiana workers’ compensation lawyers at Lunsford, Baskin & Priebe for a free and confidential consultation to learn your rights and to see if they can help.