Anyone who’s been on workers’ compensation knows it’s no bonanza. First and foremost, an injured worker can’t sue his employer, so huge punitive awards or pain and suffering damages are simply out of the question. Second, the insurance company has a toolbox full of ways to stop or reduce the little compensation an injured worker gets.
However, most peoples’ exposure to workers’ compensation is through television, where advertising revenue is the business imperative. Therefore, what the public gets is juicy video of workers’ compensation cheats. We’ve all seen them: the person with the claimed back injury skateboarding or the person who shows up in court in a neckbrace then goes to an amusement park without it. Unfortunately. it’s this sort of “newsworthy” “journalism” that pays the television stations’ bills.
Truth is, recent studies have shown that the true rate of workers’ compensation fraud cases is between one and two percent. It’s hardly an epidemic. This is not to say that fraudsters shouldn’t be caught and punished. Rather, why should the broad majority of injured workers risk their very real symptoms being dismissed because of these few criminals?
Certainly, lawmakers or companies that attempt to reduce the benefits of injured workers by citing fraud should be called on their allegations!