As a continuation of Workers’ Compensation Fraud (Part 1), the following provides some further information regarding illegal workers’ compensation claims. While Part 1 of this blog provided a comprehensive definition of what constitutes workers’ compensation fraud, here in Part 2, we will focus on the criminal penalties for those who are charged with and convicted of workers’ compensation fraud, as well as some indications of workers’ compensation fraud.
Criminal Penalties for Workers’ Compensation Fraud
According to the Colorado Workers’ Compensation Act, §8-43-402 C.R.S. and §18-1-105 C.R.S., workers’ compensation fraud is classified as a Class 5 felony crime, which means that it can be punishable by:
- Up to 3 years in prison (with the longest prison sentences typically being granted in cases when large sums of money were fraudulently obtained via false workers’ compensation claims or when an individual has a criminal record of previous acts of fraud)
- Up to $100,000 in fines
- Permanent marks on one’s criminal record
- Community service.
In order to prove that a person has committed workers’ compensation fraud, prosecutors must be able to establish that:
- The individual in question has knowingly made false statements or representations to the Colorado Department of Labor & Employments Division of Workers’ Compensation.
- The approval of the individual’s workers’ compensation claim was based on these false statements or representations.
Signs of Workers’ Compensation Fraud
Some indications that workers’ compensation fraud may be taking place include the following:
- Lack of witnesses who saw the accident or injury take place (or a general lack of evidence supporting that the accident or injury occurred)
- Reports of alleged workplace injuries being filed first thing Monday morning (Because workplace injuries should be reported as soon as they occur, reports of such injuries at the beginning of the week can be suspicious.)
- History of a claimant (i.e., injured worker) being disgruntled at work
- Suspiciously long recovery times or seemingly exaggerated symptoms of a condition or illness
- Inappropriate or inconsistent billing from medical providers regarding alleged treatment for an injury
Denver Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
Workers who suffer a personal injury on the job desire competent medical treatment and compensation to cover their lost wages as a result of their injuries. Because workers’ compensation requirements can be rigorous and confusing for both workers and for self-insured corporations, it is important to obtain legal counsel to help navigate the obstacles.
With more than 30 years of combined workers’ compensation experience, the Denver workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Office of Steven J. Picardi have extensive knowledge of Colorado workers’ compensation law, strong credentials and a significant record of success that consistently allowed them to effectively defend employers and represent injured employees in all phases of workers’ compensation litigation. Our firm’s lawyers remain abreast of the latest changes in workers’ compensation laws and are ready to use their skills and knowledge to your advantage.
For experienced legal advocacy in defending or filing a workers’ compensation claim, contact the Picardi Law Firm for a consultation by calling (303) 778-8881 or by emailing us using the form at the top of the screen.