Nearly everyone here in Colorado knows how important workers’ compensation benefits can be to a person who is injured on the job. With mounting medical bills and being unable to work at the same time, this perfect storm of problems can lead to incredibly problematic situations without these benefits.
But the situation can get even worse when your employer suddenly accuses you of committing workers’ compensation fraud. Not only does this carry with it legal ramifications, but it can also mean serious penalties if the claims are found to be true.
Three workers in Oklahoma this month are facing a similar situation after their supervisor accused them of lying about how they were injured on the job. Now the three men must once again prove their case in front of the attorney general in an attempt to prevent their benefits from being taken away.
According to a report filed in December 2011, the three men’s faces were severely burned after a leaking welding torch caught fire in the plant one month earlier. But in the two years since being granted workers’ compensation benefits, the men’s employer now thinks that they suffered injury as a result of other means.
In Colorado, we see cases like this all the time. Paying out workers’ compensation benefits can get expensive, which is a cost many companies do not want to pay. But regardless of cost to the company, there should be no reason for accusing someone of lying unless there is substantial evidence to say otherwise.
Based on information provided by the men’s employer, prosecutors believe that the men actually burned themselves while using small explosives just outside the plant. The employer claims to have discovered what appeared to be explosive materials near the plant and also that there is allegedly no evidence of an equipment malfunction on site.
Depending on how a judge interprets the evidence presented before them, the men could face serious felony charges.
Source: News OK, “Burned workers in Tulsa are charged with workers’ comp fraud,” Nolan Clay, March 29, 2013