Court says injured worker who was dishonest about benefits after returning to work fired for cause - its the right call. Injured worker who got workers comp benefits after going back to work, tried to hide it, didn't pay the benefits back and was fired for dishonesty.

A lot of people come to me having never been injured before and not knowing their rights or how workers compensation works for them - there is a lot of misinformation out there - and they just want what's fair, to get the medical treatment they need and feed their family while they can't work due to the injury.

And we all know people who scam, are dishonest or frauds make it much harder on the rest of us.  Even though its a very small percentage of people who try to game the system (and there is a lot of that by insurance companies as well) it still is what people remember.  And insurance companies have to spend a lot of time, money and effort catching these crooks - so that means less time and resources for legitimate work injuries, and sometimes leads to questioning, verifying and delaying every detail of a legitimate work injury.

So I was glad to see a court uphold an employer's right to fire a trucker who returned to work after his injury but tried to collect both workers comp benefits and his salary and never told anyone.  When they found out, he refused to pay it back.

Insurance adjusters make mistakes and sometimes they overpay an injured worker, send two checks by mistake, get the dates wrong, etc.  If this happens, take care of it right away - send it back, let them know about the mistake and get it taken care of.

Don't put yourself in a position to be fired for something like this, especially if you can only work light duty or have work restrictions from the injury that will make it hard to find a good paying job.

The case is Barton v. Allied Waste Industries, Inc. 2215-12-4, Va. Ct. of Appeals

What if the trucker had had a personal injury lawyer in Vancouver? Would that have made a difference in whether or not he kept his job?
by Stephen Corona August 30, 2013 at 10:21 AM
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