In Polk County, Florida, eight men have been arrested as the result of an undercover sting operation designed to expose workers’ compensation fraud. These men were caught trying to perform plumbing and electrical work for which they did not have the proper licensure, and running job sites for which they had no workers’ compensation insurance coverage. (In Florida employers are typically required to have Workers’ compensation coverage absent certain exclusions under the law).
Multiple agencies led by the Florida Department of Financial Services’ (DFS) Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF), worked the three-day sting operation to expose and serve justice to those men attempting to circumvent the law. Other agencies involved in the undercover endeavor include: the Lakeland Police Department, State Attorney’s Office, DFS’ Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Compliance, and the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. These arrests help protect not only unassuming consumers, but also licensed professionals who go through the proper steps to provide skilled services to those consumers.
Laws requiring business owners or contractors to carry workers’ compensation insurance are there to protect the workers and the consumers alike. When businesses fail to carry required workers’ compensation insurance, they are able to submit lower bids for jobs because they are not paying costly insurance premiums. The lower bids secure them the job, while their unprotected workers, should they become injured on the job, will end up having to turn to programs such as Social Security disability and welfare/unemployment programs, at the expense of the taxpayer.
The frequency with which these attempts to avoid paying workers’ compensation insurance premiums occur is unsettling and concerning. Most of the time, when the phrase, “Workers’ Compensation Fraud” is uttered, an injured worker faking an injury to receive undeserved benefits comes to mind. However, it is apparent that the majority of fraud committed within the workers’ compensation system is on the employer’s behalf, rather than the injured employee. If you, or your loved one, has suffered a work-related injury, call the experienced attorneys at Lancaster & Eure for your free consultation (941) 365-7575, or feel free to contact us online.