In his recent column on CalMatters, Dan Walters focuses the majority of his article on two instances of fraud perpetrated by workers and alludes to the notion that cumulative trauma claims are simply the result of “shady lawyers” running scams in Southern California.
Citing reports from the Workers Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau (WCIRB), Walters says these types of cases account for the majority of fraud causing the high costs associated with California’s workers’ compensation system, setting a dangerous precedent and further exacerbating the negative image of injured workers filing legitimate claims.
The State Auditor released a report in December 2017 showing fraudulent claims by workers accounted for only 2 percent of the nearly $1 billion in unpunished fraud.
Furthermore, the Department of Insurance’s annual report showed only 626 cases of claimant fraud in fiscal year 2017-18. There were 691,211 injuries reported in 2017 and 682,160 in 2018. Even taking the lower number, claimant fraud amounted to less than .1 percent.
The WCIRB has been targeting workers filing cumulative trauma claims for years.
They’ve described those suffering from cumulative trauma as workers who don’t speak English, make less than $500 per week and work in the hospitality and manufacturing industries, mainly in Southern California – essentially blaming low-income immigrant workers for getting injured while working the toughest jobs.
That’s who they are on paper.
These videos show the real faces of cumulative trauma.
For their sake and for the sake of all injured workers facing the negative image associated with filing a workers’ compensation claim, the facts matter.