A friend today asked me about about an article in the Las Vegas Sun today regarding a Metro office who was caught doing something stupid and is being prosecuted for theft related to his workers’ compensation case. The Nevada Attorney General is responsible under Nevada law for investigating and prosecuting any injured workers an insurer or self-insured employer believes is obtaining medical or compensation benefits fraudulently. I don’t represent the officer who is charged, and I don’t know exact circumstances of his case.
The problem with the short article is that while it may be factual, it helps perpetuate the myth that workers’ compensation fraud by injured workers is prevalent. It isn’t. Metro officers in particular are not the type of people who file fraudulent claims. Obviously, police officers get hurt a lot. Their jobs are physical. The interact with violent criminals, and they are on bikes, motorcycles and in patrol cars. The officer mention in the article is the only Metro officer currently under prosecution for workers’ compensation fraud.
Previously, I wrote that only 93 cases were referred to the Attorney General’s Office in 2011 out of the approximately 50,000 claims that were filed in Nevada. (The DIR did not have the exact 2011 statistics available.) I just spoke with an experienced claims adjuster, who I knew when I was the Chief Attorney for the Southern Regional Office of the SIIS. He said that he has only referred three claimants to the AG’s office in twenty years.
My point is that if you happen to know an officer who is recuperating from a work injury or occupational illness, thank him or her for their service, and wish them a speedy recovery. These officers aren’t faking it.