Years ago, Dateline NBC aired a show on workers’ compensation fraud that focused on employees taking advantage of the system.  However, according to an article posted on PBS.org titled, “The Myth of Workers’ Compensation Fraud,” many experts and researchers have found that workers’ compensation fraud is not as prevalent as some people think and many of the abusers are actually the employers not the employees.
During the Dateline program, the reporter made the comment that workers’ compensation fraud is common and that the industry estimates it to equal about $5 billion a year.  However, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) has stated that “these allegations have absolutely no relationship in fact but are based on ‘attitudes’ about fraud (when respondents say they ‘know’ of someone supposedly on workers’ comp even though he or she might be capable of working).”
The authors of the book, “Costs of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses,” estimate that fraudulent workers’ comp claims equal $1.2 billion a year, which is about 25 percent of the insurance industry estimate.  Even though this figure is high, it represents approximately 2 percent of all workers’ compensation dollars spent in the authors’ sample year.
Robert Stern from the AFL-CIO wrote a letter to Dateline reporter Tom Brokaw stating that every study into workers’ compensation fraud has found that employer, insurer and provider fraud are higher than claimant fraud.  Stern also urged Brokaw to review what happened during the Nixon administration.
According to the PBS article, in the 1970s, benefits paid to individuals who were injured on the job, were so low that President Nixon appointed the National Commission on State Workmen’s Compensation Laws to study the problem.  The agency recommended that each state pay completely disabled workers at least two-thirds of their salary up to a maximum of the state’s average weekly wage.  However, this recommendation is not a reality for every injured worker.
If you have been injured on the job, you may be eligible for Tennessee workers’ compensation benefits.  Contact a Nashville workers’ compensation lawyer at Phillip Miller & Associates at 1-800-337-HURT (4878) or 615-356-2000 for a free consultation.

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