Monthly Archives: January 2012

Stamford

Connecticut Employers Shut Down For Not Paying Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Stamford CT is the location of today’s company fraud.

In these tough economic times, many companies aren’t paying basic requirements for their employees like Social Security, income taxes, unemployment, or workers’ comp. This has led states all over the country to start doing spot-checks on construction sites. Employers beware – protect your workers with workers’ compensation insurance – it’s the law, and states are cracking down.

Just this week Connecticut’s Labor’s Wage & Workplace Standards Division shut down two subcontractors who were helping to build a high-rise in Stamford, CT. According to the state, the Virginia-based contractors couldn’t provide evidence that their employees had workers’ compensation coverage in the state of Connecticut.

With unemployment high and the recession lingering, employers seem to be increasingly taking advantage of the fact that people are willing to work without appropriate coverage. It is a real shame that these days so many people are going to work without the protections that they are due under the law.

facebook

How Your Facebook Activity Can Hurt Your Workers’ Compensation Claim

Today we have a guest post from my colleague Brody Ockander of Nebraska.

If you are reading this, chances are you’re on Facebook. If you aren’t on Facebook, the chances are you are on MySpace or Twitter, or have a very close friend or family member who uses these websites.

Most of us don’t think twice about what we post on social media sites like these. However, depending on the privacy settings of your profile, anyone may be able to see the status update on your wall, the photo of you at a wedding, or whatever job you are currently in. That “anyone” could be the defense lawyer or insurance adjuster if you are currently involved in a Workers’ Compensation action.

“What do I have to hide?” you ask. Well, these status updates, photos, or wall postings may often be misunderstood or taken out of context. For example, a status update stating “Just got done mowing the lawn” might not look very good to someone that is off work for a back injury, and it would be hard to explain that even though you mowed the lawn, it took you two pain pills to do so and caused you extreme suffering later that night that you couldn’t even sleep. That may be the price you paid for mowing that lawn, but there’s no record of your pain and suffering on Facebook, just evidence that you were somehow able to do it.

Here’s what you can do to avoid some pitfalls from Facebook and other social networking site:

  1. Adjust your privacy settings Continue reading
man-painting-wall-with-ladders600x600

Business Owner Fakes Wages, Charged With $700,000 In Fraud

A painting and construction company was charged with a $700K fraud.

There is a frustrating, widely held belief that workers commit most of the workers’ comp fraud in this country. It couldn’t be further from the truth. My colleagues and I, who are on the front lines of workers’ compensation law, can attest to the fact that we see employers commit more fraud, and when they do, it tends to be far more costly than worker fraud. Just yesterday another story popped up in the news about a company owner in California committing fraud that cost workers and other businesses $700K.

I wish truly wish that stories like this were unusual, but they just aren’t. Cracking down on corporate corruption and greed would save a lot of money for insurance companies and other businesses, while saving even more American workers a lot of pain and suffering. Here is a link to an article with more details on the fraud committed by Doherty Painting & Construction:

Calif. Business Owner Fakes Wages: Charged with 57 Underground Economy Violations, $700,000 Loss

“The crimes we have charged against this employer are extremely serious,” says San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón. “This conduct not only victimizes workers who are desperately trying to make a living in a very tough economy, it also hurts the honest businesses that were unable to successfully compete for these projects which the defendant was able to underbid and win as a result of this scheme.”

Taxes

Do I Need To File A Tax Return On My Workers Compensation?

If you received workers’ compensation benefits in 2011, you may be wondering if you will need to report this money to the IRS and pay taxes on it. Under the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Act, money that you receive as workers’ compensation benefits is not taxable, with a few exceptions.

You will have to pay taxes on your work comp benefits if:

  • if the benefits are retirement plan benefits (this is true even if you retired due to disability)
  • if part of your workers’ compensation benefit money lowers the amount you receive from your Social Security or Railroad Retirement Benefits. In that case, that the part of your workers compensation benefits is considered part of your Social Security (or RRB) and may be taxable.

If you return to work, your salary will be taxable again, as is it was before you received workers’ compensation benefits.

evil-doctor

The Truth About Insurance Medical Examinations

Insurance medical exams may seem like regular doctor visits, but these docs are not on your side.

Today’s wise words come from my colleague Matt Funk of New York.

Many times insurance medical examinations are considered by injured employees to be the same as Independent Medical Examinations (IMEs). There is nothing farther from the truth. These examinations are bought and paid for by the insurance company and for their benefit.

The insurance carrier doctor is no friend to an injured worker. He or she is a private consultant paid for by the carrier.

You should be prepared for these examinations by knowing your rights and how to protect them:

1) You have the right right to bring a family member or friend with you to the examination.
You can bring your spouse into the examination room during the examination. This is important because it allows for a witness to testify at court about the validity of the examination and to dispute tests that the doctor claims to have done.

2) You are permitted to audiotape or videotape the examination.
And there is nothing in the law that requires you to tell the insurance company doctor that you intend to tape the examination.

3) You should Continue reading

Iowan

Helping Our Friends And Neighbors In Iowa

Workers’ Compensation has traditionally been a primary remedy for injured workers throughout Iowa. My firm has proudly participated in assisting injured workers’ and their families in obtaining benefits following industrial accidents and occupational exposures. This blog, as well as our newly launched, and client friendly, social media network, is yet another effort to provide modern quality service to our clients and the community that we serve. We hope that you take the opportunity to participate in our new adventure in provide helpful and important information.