Generally, most news stories covering workers’ compensation fraud focus on individuals. They show video of the person performing certain tasks while collecting benefits and then show how much this person has “cost” the system. But what many of these stories tend to ignore is that employers have also been and can be convicted of workers’ compensation fraud.
In May alone, BWC fraud investigations led to the conviction of three separate employers. In Ohio, employers are required to either pay premiums to participate in the state fund or they can elect to be self-insured (provided they meet certain requirements). Failure to demonstrate coverage via either method can lead to charges of operating a business without workers’ compensation coverage. Further, submitting false certificates of coverage can also lead to charges. Finally, even if at one point a business has workers’ compensation coverage, they are required to maintain that coverage. Failing to do so could also lead to charges.
So what happens to an employee when he or she is injured on the job and the employer either has no workers’ compensation coverage or has let its coverage lapse? Luckily, the employer’s lapse in judgment has no bearing on the injured worker’s right to file a claim for a work-related injury with the BWC and Industrial Commission of Ohio. Injured workers in this situation will have their claims processed and heard just as any other claim against a complying employer would be. It is the BWC who would then pursue restitution from the offending employer.