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Workplace accidents allegedly went unreported in California

When a California employee is injured at work, there is a set protocol for filing a workers' compensation claim to collect benefits. The system is designed to aid injured workers by providing funds that can help pay medical bills and replace lost wages, should an injury cause them to lose time at work. In a recent situation, one injured employee claimed that several similar workplace accidents went unreported by his employer.

Apparently, the worker had been using some sort of table saw on the job. He told an insurance claims adjuster that the equipment was not properly set up with safety guardrails according to safety regulations promulgated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. He also told the investigating agent that several of his co-workers suffered severe injuries on the same piece of machinery but that his employer never reported those incidents.

The employer, did, however, question the validity of the man's injury and had called his insurance carrier to express concern. It was only after the claims adjuster interviewed the man (whose finger had been amputated by the machine) that officials became aware of the other accidents in the same workplace. The employer and a bookkeeper from the same company have since been charged with fraud. 

Charges include failure to report workplace accidents, tax evasion and under-reporting payroll. In similar situations, when California employers are found to have been grossly negligent in ways that lead to workers' injuries, employees may have grounds for filing legal claims above and beyond any benefits claim filed through the workers' compensation insurance system. Such situations are often complicated and may be best addressed through experienced legal guidance.

Source: claimsjournal.com, "Report of Possible Workers' Comp Fraud Uncovers $8.5M Payroll Fraud Scheme", May 27, 2016

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