An actress made news when she was charged with a particular form of workers’ compensation fraud.
Workers’ Compensation Fraud is not simply faking an injury. Legitimate Workers’ Compensation Claims can become “fraud” claims. These claims often occur when there are are false statements made in order to collect benefits.
In this matter, the State of California Department of Insurance issued a press release with the details as to how an accepted claim became a fraud claim.
In addition, this article will discuss how an Injured Worker can avoid accusation of fraud.
With respect to the actress, the California Department of Insurance issued the following release:
Yellowstone” actress charged with workers’ compensation insurance fraud
News: 2022 Press Release
For Release: July 11, 2022
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
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“Yellowstone” actress charged with workers’ compensation insurance fraud
LOS ANGELES — Q’Orianka Kilcher, 32, of North Hollywood, has been charged with two felony counts of workers’ compensation insurance fraud. An investigation by the California Department of Insurance found Kilcher allegedly broke the law in collecting over $90,000 in disability benefits. Kilcher’s attorney appeared in court today on her behalf and her next scheduled court date is August 7, 2022.
California law prohibits misrepresenting injuries to medical providers to collect workers’ compensation insurance benefits, yet the investigation found Kilcher worked on “Yellowstone” during the time she told a doctor she had been too injured to work. The Department of Insurance is the lead agency investigating workers’ compensation insurance fraud, which in 2020-2021 fiscal year resulted in a potential loss of $161,947,968, costing California businesses and increasing costs to workers.
In October 2018 while acting in the movie “Dora and the Lost City of Gold,” Kilcher allegedly injured her neck and right shoulder. She saw a doctor a few times that year, but stopped treatment and did not respond to the insurance company handling her claim on behalf of her employer. A year later, in October 2019, Kilcher contacted the insurance company saying she needed treatment. Kilcher told the doctor handling her claim that she had been offered work since her injury occurred but had been unable to accept it because her neck pain was too severe. Based on Kilcher’s statements to the doctor, she began receiving temporary total disability benefits.
After reviewing wage information from her employer, the investigation found Kilcher had worked as an actress on the television show “Yellowstone” from July 2019 to October 2019, despite her statements to the doctor that she had been unable to work for a year. According to records, she returned to the doctor and started receiving disability benefits five days after last working on the show.
When told about Kilcher’s recent employment history, the doctor on her claim stated if they had been aware of it they would have never granted her the disability payments. From October 14, 2019, through September 9, 2021, Kilcher’s received $96,838 in undeserved disability benefits.
Kilcher self-surrendered and was arraigned on May 27, 2022. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting this case.”
Given the Fact Pattern, How Can An Injured Worker Avoid This Problem?
When an Injured Worker either returns to work or accepts new employment, it is very important for them to communicate it to the doctor who is issuing their disability statements. An Injured Worker should avoid collecting temporary disability benefits once they start working again.
Likewise, if the insurance carrier issues payment to an Injured Worker for a period of time when the Injured Worker is back to work, the Worker should reach out to the carrier to work on getting the issue adjusted properly. As such, if a check contains both periods of disability and work, it is possible to get the check re-issued for the proper periods.
What if I Need Advice?
If you would like a free consultation regarding workers’ compensation, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. We have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their workers’ compensation cases for 27 years. Contact us today for more information.