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The Real Face of Fraud in Workers’ Comp

The Real Face of Fraud in Workers’ Comp

In 2016, Reagan Kemple lost his life while battling wildfires in California, leaving behind a wife and 2 children. When Mrs. Kemple sought workers’ compensation benefits she was told that her husband’s employer did not have coverage because they did not have any employees—everyone who worked for them were considered to be independent contractors. 3 years later a Monterey County Superior Court Judge found the employer criminally guilty of violating several labor laws-including workers’ compensation fraud.

Failure for an employer with 5 or more employees to have workers’ compensation coverage is a criminal misdemeanor in Alabama. They are also subject to a fine up to $1000 and responsible for paying their injured employee two times that amount of compensation the law sets forth for them. So, if your employer does not have workers compensation coverage as set forth by law-then you can have them arrested.

Having said this, you would be surprised at the number of times our firm has been hired by an injured worker who was told that there wasn’t comp coverage-only for us to find out during litigation that there is insurance, the employer just didn’t want to file a claim and hoped the injured worker would just go away. I tell you this to remind you not to give up.

The scheme used by the employer in the Kemple case is not a new one. The employer claimed no one who worked for them was an employee, but was merely “independent contractors.” In my experience-this argument is generally BS.

Last year we shared a post which stated that, “according to the U.S. Department of Labor, approximately 30 percent of companies misclassify at least some employees. In total, about 42.6 million employees may be misclassified right now. The IRS and the Department of Labor have launched a campaign to root out these employers.” Alabama initiated their own investigation last month and more States are doing the same.

Misclassifying employees to save money in payroll taxes and workman’s compensation premium affects us all adversely, but it hurts injured workers and their families the most.

If you have been hurt at work, but then told that you are not ‘technically” an employee and therefore are not entitled to Alabama workers’ compensation benefits, DON’T GIVE UP. Receiving a 1099 tax form does not mean that you are not an “employee.”

If you were hurt on the job and you have questions about your right to Alabama Workers’ Compensation benefits, please don’t hesitate to call and speak with one of the experienced Alabama Job Injury Attorneys at Powell and Denny today for a FREE consultation. You don’t have to face this alone.

Powell and Denny: We Work When You Can’t

Offices in Huntsville, AL and Hoover, AL

Alabama Workers Compensation Attorneys
Birmingham Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
Huntsville Workers’ Compensation Attorneys

Powell and Denny have been selected as one of the Best Law Firms by U.S. News and World Report for each of the last 6 years, have been selected as one of Birmingham’s Top Lawyers by B-Metro Magazine for the last 3 years, have been selected by The National Advocates as one of the Top 20 Workers’ Compensation Firms (plaintiffs) and Powell and Denny, P.C.-has been selected as one of the “Best of the Best” law firms by The American Registry.
Mr. Denny is AV rated by Martindale Hubbard (the highest rating possible) and Mr. Powell has been rated as Superior by The National Registry

The Real Face of Fraud in Workers’ Comp

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