It might seem tempting at first – you're injured in a workplace accident, and as part of the workers' compensation process, you're being examined by a doctor who asks, “Where does it hurt?” And while you do hurt, you wonder if exaggerating your injury could help you get more benefits than you would if you were honest with the doctor.
Putting aside the moral problems with exaggerating an injury, there are several very good legal reasons to ignore the temptation to exaggerate and be as honest as possible about your injury.
Your Temporary Benefits Won't Change
First, from a practical perspective, if you are temporarily out of work because of your actual injury, the amount of your weekly (or monthly) workers' compensation disability benefits won't change simply because you claim your injury is worse than it is. That's because the amount you will receive is fixed by law and is based on your average weekly wage rate, not on how serious your injury is.
You May Have to Be Examined More than Once
Second, exaggerating your injury could lead to you having to make multiple doctor visits. Under Louisiana law, your employer has a right to have you examined by a physician of its choice. Subsequently, if you and your employer are involved in a dispute about your condition or your ability to work, you can be required to see an additional doctor who will examine you and provide a report that will be used to help resolve the dispute. And if you refuse to be examined, your benefits can be suspended until the examination takes place.
You May Go to Prison
Third, exaggerating your injury could be construed as misrepresentation. Under Louisiana law, it is illegal to “willfully make a false statement or representation” to obtain any workers' compensation benefit. If you're caught violating this, penalties can be serious: up to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, depending on the value of the benefits you've claimed or received.
Contact the Delsa Law Firm, LLC, With Your Workers' Compensation Questions
If you've been injured on the job in Louisiana and have questions about your workers' compensation rights, contact the Delsa Law Firm, LLC, for help. Ben Delsa has helped hard-working employees in Louisiana protect their right to receive medical benefits, disability payments, physical therapy, and other workers' compensation benefits for years. They will help you understand your rights, how to assert them, and how to file claims if your employer or employer's insurer refuses to pay.
Anyone working at a qualified employer in Louisiana may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits, even employees who live in Mississippi or another nearby state and commute to work. Call the Delsa Law Firm, LLC, today at (985) 882-1222, or use our online contact form to set up an appointment to learn more about how we can help. Our office is conveniently located in Slidell, just off I-12 at exit 80. We are ready to help you with your claim!