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  • Negligent Hiring
  • Investigating Worker's Compensation Fraud

    "...a term used when an employer hires an individual without conducting a proper or effective investigation of that person's history and later it's discovered that the employee's background contains something that would indicate a propensity for misconduct that is job related".
    A 93-year-old female was raped by an employee of the nursing home where she was a patient. The plaintiff contended the employer was negligent for failing to adequately screen the employee's background prior to hiring him, which would have revealed a long police record that included sexual misconduct.
    Attorneys for the woman brought action against the nursing home for negligent hiring and retention of an employee who had a prior criminal record that included several offenses of sexual predation.
    Settlement: $680,000.00
    Liability issues and litigation involving negligent hiring are becoming commonplace. More and more companies are being held liable for property damages, personal injury and death arising from a negligent hiring situation. The courts are no longer accepting a defense of ignorance for a negligent hiring liability when reasonable pre-employment background checks were not performed. The ripple effects of enormous monetary awards and negative publicity can devastate even the most successful of businesses. Ironically, a simple act of "due diligence" by the company could easily protect hard earned assets and a time-stamped reputation.
    Competition demands quality service and products. Careful pre-employment screening will produce employees who are leaders with the character and solid background that your company demands. Also, hiring the right person for the job reduces turn-over as well as training expenses and helps keep employee moral at a peak.
    "Bad hires" bring excessive baggage with them: sullen attitudes, a lackadaisical, often unfriendly approach to doing the job, no team spirit and in many instances, a propensity to "create" their own perks. One such perk is theft, which costs our nation more than 400 million dollars a year.
    Compounding this problem are former employers who, out of fear of civil litigation, are reluctant to say "why" an employee was terminated. This allows a bad employee to bounce from job-to-job, leaving a trail of deceit and deception in his wake that in most instances is never discovered because administrators are afraid to ask the right questions of applicants. This only contributes to the millions of applications that are falsified annually.
    A recent article in the New York Times reported that more than 40% of resumes and applications submitted for employment in today's marketplace have either untruths or misrepresentations of previous employment, education, criminal history and other misstated qualifications. Conducting a thorough pre-employment screening investigation may reveal some unforeseen facts:

    Overstated Academics
    Poor Driving Record . Instabilities
    Criminal History . Behavioral Problems
    Exaggerated Abilities . .
    By employing our Pre-employment Screening service, we can assist in separating the "silver-tongue" applicant with an impressive resume from the truly exceptional candidates. Hiring the right person the first time will pay huge dividends down the road.


    "I don't care if they get a hundred doctors to examine you. If you say your back is killing you, they can't prove it isn't. That's what we call pain and suffering. And the money you get is tax free."

    Walter Matthau to Jack Lemmon in the movie "The Fortune Cookie"
    A claimant who was collecting more than four hundred dollars a week because of "soft tissue" damage was videotaped driving a tractor from a pole barn to an out-building at a remote corner of his farm property. When he arrived at this destination, he was observed leaping from the tractor. Piled on a sled, which the tractor was towing, were several stacks of logs that the claimant unloaded by himself. As a result of the videotape, the man was ruled physically able and ordered to return to work.
    Surveillance is the most effective tool that can be used to investigate workers' compensation fraud. With cameras, some small enough to fit on a pair of common eye glasses, audio recorders, actual following of the claimant to undercover techniques, irrefutable evidence can be obtained to authenticate or contradict the claimed injury.
    A self-insured company faced with an overwhelming number of disability claims from a particular region fought back by implementing a policy that included several days of surveillance on anyone going out on a workers' compensation claim. This included habitual malingers as well as first time claimants. In essence, the company was making a statement to it's employees: "...all medical claims will be scrutinized to ensure validity of the claim".
    Furthermore, if the employee was going to take off on disability they had better be disabled and have the medical proof to substantiate a prolonged period of absence. In less than two years time the company announced a drop of 66% in "open" workers' compensation claims.
    It should be noted that deployment of an investigator, or surveillance team, should never be a one-time application as it may take several random observations to ultimately expose a pattern of behavior contrary to what the injured worker's limitations may be.
    The following list of Red Flags will help expose worker's compensation fraud in your business:
    When you telephone him, the claimant is always "sleeping"
    and cannot be disturbed;
    The claimant refuses diagnostic procedures to confirm the injury;
    Date, time and place of accident is unknown;
    Claimant's is seen with calluses on his hands and grease under
    his fingernails;
    Claimant's only injury is "soft tissue" damage;
    Claimant can never be reached;
    Tips from co-workers about the claimant's activities;
    Claimant moved out of state;
    There were no witnesses to the accident or injury;
    The claimant is in line for early retirement;
    Specific details of the injury cannot be recalled;
    The injury coincides with proposed layoffs, down-sizing, etc.

    By identifying fraudulent claims, and obtaining information about the claimant's activities, any or all of the following objectives can be accomplished:

    Discover the claimant is not injured;
    Uncover co-conspirators within the company;
    Obtain evidence of medical fraud;
    Gain enough evidence to support a conviction of fraud
    in a criminal or civil proceeding;
    Ultimately, reduce worker's compensation premiums.

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