The oil and gas industry has a reputation for being a dangerous career choice. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration confirms that the injury and fatality rates are indeed higher than the average. However, that does not mean that your workers are in danger.
Because of the higher exposure to hazards, an employee could get the idea that it would be easy to successfully file a false workers' compensation claim. Here are some things you should be aware of if one of your workers reports an on-the-job injury.
When the employee reports it
If your employee does not tell anyone about the incident until some time afterward, and there is no clear cause for the delay, it may give you a good reason to feel suspicious. For example, the worker may say the injury happened late in the day on Friday but wait to tell you about it until Monday. Similarly, if the event supposedly took place at the beginning of the day on Monday, it could indicate that the injury actually occurred on the worker's own time.
Who witnesses it
There may be any number of instances when your employee is working without another person present, and it may even be more likely for an accident to strike when the worker is unassisted. Although you probably should not assume that someone faked an injury simply because there are no witnesses, you may want to listen carefully to the account of the one person who was there. If the story has inconsistencies or changes as time goes by, you might be looking at a fraudulent claim.
What the doctor says
In Louisiana, you may choose a doctor for your injured employee, although the law allows workers to decide on a different one if they want. It may be suspicious if the employee refuses a recommended procedure or treatment, or changes to a physician who regularly handles other questionable claims. In either case, you may want to delve into the matter further.
You should report and investigate every worker injury, not only to verify the validity of the damage, but also to improve the safety of the job site. When the report does not check out against the facts, you may want to hire an attorney to make sure you and your insurance company are not victims of a fraudulent claim.