It's not unusual for an employer in Louisiana to argue that an employee who has filed a workers' compensation claim is not entitled to benefits. Employers with workers' compensation insurance know that their rates may increase depending on the number of claims filed. If the employer “self-insures,” it knows that benefits paid to an injured employee will come straight from the employer's pocket.
While there may be legitimate reasons for an employer to contest an employee's workers' compensation claim – for example, that the injury was pre-existing or that the employee was not on the job when the accident took place – it is not unheard of for an employer to lie in an effort to deny coverage. This kind of underhanded tactic is illegal, and employers who try it risk fines and jail time.
It is a Crime to Make a Fraudulent Statement in a Workers' Compensation Case
Louisiana Revised Statute 23:1208 makes it a crime for both employers and employees to “willfully make a false statement or representation” to defeat an employee's worker compensation claim (for employers) or obtain workers' compensation benefits (for employees). The penalties for violating section 1208 can be severe. Depending on the amount of the claimed benefits, someone convicted of violating this statute can face a fine of up to $500 and up to six months in jail, to a fine of up to $10,000 and up to ten years in jail. In addition to the criminal penalties, the court can also require the defendant to pay a separate fine of between $500 and $5000 to a bar association scholarship fund.
Employers are Aware of the Law
Employers can't claim ignorance of this law as a defense against their fraudulent behavior. Employers that are required to have workers' compensation coverage are also required to certify in writing that they have complied with the Louisiana Workers' Compensation Act. Part of that certification warns them that it is unlawful to make false statements to defeat a workers' compensation claim and that they face a fine of up to $10,000, imprisonment for up to ten years, and a civil fine of up to $5000 if they violate section 1208.
The Delsa Law Firm, LLC, Can Help
If you have suffered an on-the-job accidental injury and your employer is arguing that you are not entitled to workers' compensation benefits, you need the help of the Delsa Law Firm, LLC. Attorney Delsa has been helping hard-working people throughout Louisiana and Southwest Mississippi like you get the workers' compensation benefits that they are entitled to for years, and he knows the law, the system, and the many ways that an employer may try to prevent you from collecting the benefits that are rightfully yours. Contact the Delsa Law Firm, LLC, today at (985) 882-1222, or through the online form, to discuss your case and learn how attorney Delsa can help you.