Being injured on the job can cause serious financial and resourceful hardship. These injuries can change your lifestyle, your method of enjoyment, and even your career path. Worker’s compensation was created to aid individuals who have been injured on the job while performing their job duties.
Faking an injury or making a minor injury out to be more serious than it really is in order to obtain benefits can be tempting, but it will likely cause more headaches than it is worth.
Lying about an injury or pretending like an injury occurred at work when it did not can lead to serious legal consequences. Fraud is defined as a false representation. In the legal sense, it is a false representation of a material fact, whether by words or by conduct, that misleads or is intended to deceive another person so that she or she will act upon it to his or her detriment.
According to Florida Statute § 440.105(4)(b)1, it is unlawful for any person to “knowingly make, or cause to be made any false, fraudulent, or misleading oral or written statement for the purpose of obtaining or denying benefits under this Chapter.”
A court will generally look at two factors in determining whether an individual fraudulently attempted to obtain worker’s compensation benefits. In Arreola v. Admin. Concepts, 17 So. 3d 792, 794 (Fla. 1st DCA 2009), the court looked at the following factors:
- Whether a claimant made a fraudulent statement; and
- Whether the statement was made with the intent to obtain worker’s compensation benefits, at the time it was made.
Thus, if a court finds that a worker made a false statement about an injury or where he or she obtained an injury in order to get worker’s compensation benefits, not only will the worker be required to repay any disbursement, but he or she could be subject to serious criminal consequences.
Making a fraudulent statement in order to obtain worker’s compensation benefits is charged as a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida. First-degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in jail and up to $1,000 fines.
If you or someone you know has been accused of fraudulently attempting to obtain worker’s compensation benefits, speaking to an experienced criminal defense attorney may be the best course of action.