I Thought We Got Bizarre Workers Comp Claims at My Company

... but these are worse.  But for someone who runs a small business, not wildly surprising.  Employers who believe that abject carelessness and rule-breaking on the employee's part should result in no claim do not have sufficient experience with the system.  At this point, whatever its origins, workers comp is effectively no-fault bad outcomes insurance.  If a bad thing happens to the worker on the job, then it generally pays no matter what the fault or facts of the case.

Our problem tends to be that we get a whole heck of a lot of "injuries" in the 3-4 hours between when we fire someone and when they leave the property.

Via Overlawyered.


  1. MingoV:

    Large corporations have a security guard escort a fired employee until he is off the property. That prevents theft, malicious damage, and fake injuries.

  2. Eric Johnson:

    * About 20 years ago, I did some work for a company that was responsible for doing medical evaluations for worker's comp and disability claims. The best story I heard was someone submitted for WC claiming they slipped on a tic tac.
    * My friend's brother in law was moving from NY to FL in a few weeks. Instead of resigning, he delibrately threw himself down a staircase at work in front of his supervisor. He was able to collect WC while he took his sweet time finding a job in FL. I heard this story straight from his lips.

  3. SamWah:

    As MingoV said, but videotape the employee from firing to off-premises

  4. JKB:

    Well, shoreside worker's comp was bound to go the way of maritime injury laws which are the granddaddies of employee injury compensation. I remember reading a case where a ship owner was held negligent after a sailor beat up another one because they should have known the sailor had a temper. Thus the ship owner created an unseaworthy condition by employing the surly sailor. This has a nice intersection with the EEOC's efforts penalize employers who don't hire ex-convicts.

  5. LarryGross:

    It's a problem. I agree. In fact, the part of SS that is in most trouble is the disability part, because of dramatic increases in claims with no discernible industry data to support it. Some think it is in part related to people losing their jobs... and looking for ways to continue their income for a while...

    with SS, it's even worse because if someone is granted a disability, after 18 months, they are entitled to Medicare no matter their age....

    this cannot continue ... by law... SS disability cannot pay out more than the FICA tax (separate from SS and MedA) can generate in revenues; DI is 1.8% FICA, half from employer and half from employee. See the part entitled:

    What Were the Sources of Income to the Trust Funds in 2011? from: http://www.ssa.gov/oact/TRSUM/index.html

    note the row that says General Revenues... which is zero for SS and DI and HI but not SMI (which is med part b).

  6. S:

    I have to say that, given the current system where all on-the-job injuries go through worker's comp, receiving compensation for injuries after accidentally drinking from a cup (similar to one the employee had been drinking from earlier) filled with lye left in the break room sounds reasonable to me.

  7. john mcginnis:

    Yes indeed. Worked for a large comm company and the requirement was before I discharged anyone or that person tendered 2 weeks notice, that I followed a defined procedure. The first of which is that security was on scene. They then escorted the person to their office to gather their effects and escorted off the premisses up to and including them driving off the lot. This firm had long since given up the 2 weeks notice nonsense due to the risks of the courtesy.

  8. marque2:

    Higher ups have put pressure on SSA magistrates to not - I repeat not validate claims of disability, and even get creative in interpretation to allow folks to get on.

    SSA disability is being used as ultra unemployment insurance, and has the extra benefit of taking folks off the unemployment rolls to make the figures look better. Yes under Obama the number of folks on SSA disability has doubled.

  9. LarryGross:

    one would think, perhaps mistakenly, that a comp claim filed AFTER you received notice of discharge would be treated with skepticism... no? Does the employer get to comment on such claims when they are made?

  10. marque2:

    I always found that odd - even though it is at odds with state law, in my contract I have to give a 2 week notice. If I don't the company will put a bad mark on my record and not hire me again + ill will with managers and such, but on the other hand the company will give me all of one hours notice if they want to get rid of me. I always found that odd.

    And if my goal were to steal something - some confidential data, don't you think the employee would have done that before giving 2 weeks notice? Usually I know a month in advance I am going to a new job.

  11. marque2:

    Probably not.

  12. LarryGross:

    I agree. Long before an employee gets the ax, things have usually gone bad and both sides are preparing for the official notice. and yes.. why the double standard on notice?

  13. nehemiah:

    Not in the Nanny state Larry. "All power to the people. Kill the corporate pigs."

  14. Matthew Jude Brown:

    Of those, I have sympathy for the Arby's worker who drank from a cup of lye by mistake -- that's injury by another worker's carelessness, and that definitely should be covered according the the way worker's comp is supposed to work.

  15. anonzmous:

    Typically the company will give you two weeks' pay, just not two weeks to monkey around on company premises.

  16. irandom:

    Finally, a reason why everyone I know and everyone my friends know is scamming the system.

  17. Gdn:

    My understanding is that disability has increased from around 3 million to over 11 million under the Obama administration. I recall reading articles a couple of years ago where the federal government was giving what amounted to bounties for states signing a lot of people up...especially the long-term unemployed.