Can A Criminal Record Hurt Your Workers' Comp Claim?
Workers' comp claims increase employers' costs of doing business and cuts into the insurance company's profits. Thus, you can expect that both your company and the workers' comp agency will look for ways to avoid paying your claim. One thing that may be used against you in your case is any criminal record you may have. Here' what you need to know about this possibility and how to guard against it.
Criminal Records Raise Suspicions
You cannot be denied workers' comp benefits just because you have a criminal record. Depending on what you were convicted of, however, the agency may use that information to cast doubts on your claims or force you to jump through extra hoops to be approved for benefits.
For example, if you were convicted of fraud — especially if it involved fraudulent workers' compensation claims — your employer and/or the workers' comp insurance agency may claim your injuries are not as severe as you state or that you're faking them altogether. This may require you to spend extra time and money getting additional evaluations to prove your claims or result in the agency paying you less than you're actually owed.
If you end up going to court over the matter, your employer or workers' comp may use your criminal history to cast doubts on your credibility, which will make it harder to get the judge or jury to side with you in the case.
Minimizing the Damage
The best way to prevent your past criminal activity from impacting your workers' comp claim is to make sure your case is as solid as you can possibly make it. For instance, secure video evidence of the incident whenever possible. It will be harder for the agency (or your employer) to call you a liar when there is objective evidence backing up your version of events.
Another thing you can do is minimize the importance of your record. If the offense is not relevant to your claim (e.g., you were convicted of DWI, but you fell off a ladder), point that out. Don't hesitate to counter with evidence you have amended your ways if the issue comes up in court. For example, show you underwent rehab after being convicted of drug offenses. This can help minimize any reputational damage you sustain from having your criminal record exposed.
For more tips on dealing with this issue or help managing your workers' comp claim, contact a law office like Law Offices Of Timothy L Lapointe PC.