Alameda Workers’ Compensation Fraud Lawyer
Workers’ compensation is a state-sponsored system that may allow workers who are injured on the job to claim financial restitution for medical expenses and a portion of their lost wages. In some cases, however, workers may fabricate or exaggerate their injuries to obtain benefits, or doctors may file false claims for treatment that they never provided. Regardless of the circumstances, individuals who are facing accusations of this crime should not hesitate to contact an Alameda workers’ compensation fraud lawyer for advice and counsel.
The state of California has devoted significant resources to identifying and prosecuting those who attempt to commit criminal fraud. As a result, you can expect aggressive prosecution of cases involving alleged workers’ compensation fraud. If you are facing such accusations, you could protect your rights by speaking with a criminal defense attorney.
The Nature of Workers’ Compensation Benefits
State law requires employers to pay for a private insurance policy that provides coverage for workers who are injured or suffer an illness while on the job. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, meaning that workers do not have to prove that the employer or anyone else is liable for their injuries to receive compensation for medical care and treatment, as well as temporary disability payments to make up for lost wages.
If employees have permanent disabilities, they may receive additional payments to replace wages lost due to an inability to work following their accident. If the injuries or illnesses cause employees to pass away, then their families may be able to receive death benefits through the workers’ compensation system.
Defining Workers’ Compensation Fraud
Under California Insurance Code § 1871.4, individuals commit workers’ compensation fraud when they take any of the following actions:
- Intentionally make a false or fraudulent material statement or representation to obtain workers’ compensation benefits
- Knowingly present a false or fraudulent written or oral material statement in a workers’ compensation claim
- Intentionally assist or abet another in taking one of these unlawful actions
- Knowingly make false or fraudulent statements to discourage workers from claiming benefits or pursuing workers’ compensation claims
This statute also makes it unlawful to make false or fraudulent material representations or statements concerning benefits provided through the Return-to-Work Program. These statements may concern either obtaining benefits personally or discouraging employees from claiming benefits through this program. A qualified attorney in Alameda may be able to analyze accusations of workers’ compensation fraud and determine whether there is enough evidence to support the charges.
Penalties for Workers’ Comp Fraud in Alameda
Individuals convicted of workers’ compensation fraud can face misdemeanor or felony charges depending on the situation. These charges can result in a prison sentence of one to five years, as well as a fine of $150,000 or double the value of the fraud, whichever is greater. A sentence for workers’ compensation fraud also must contain an order for the individuals to pay restitution, including the costs of the investigation and payment for any medical evaluations or treatments received.
Furthermore, if a convicted individual has one or more prior felony convictions, he or she would receive a sentence for this offense with an enhancement of two years added for each prior conviction. Due to the potential severity of these penalties, anyone accused of this offense may wish to consult with a workers’ compensation fraud lawyer in Alameda right away.
Call an Alameda Workers’ Compensation Fraud Attorney for Advice
If you were accused of committing workers’ compensation fraud, you could be facing serious financial penalties and jail time, as well as other criminal charges depending on the situation. Either way, you likely cannot afford to go without legal representation.
Working with legal counsel may enable you to reach a more favorable resolution of the charges that you are facing. Contact an Alameda workers’ compensation fraud lawyer today and begin building your case.