What is Suppression?
Claims suppression occurs when employers try to prevent workers from reporting injuries at work. RCW 51.28.010 (4) Suppression of a claim implies intentionally:
- Inducing employees not to report injuries;
- Getting employees to treat injuries during employment as injuries outside of work; or
- Acting otherwise to suppress legitimate industrial insurance claims.
Why are employers pushing claims?
To save money; A claim that has not been filed maintains experience ratings and therefore Washington L&I premiums are relatively low.
A history of suppression of demands
Countering the allegations previously discouraged the Washington statute. Some employers ignored the law and stifled claims. They got away with it. Those days should be over. There is a new law in the state of Washington that puts some teeth in preventing suppression.
RCW 51.28.025 – Defines penalties against the employer and other remedies to suppress claims:
- A fine of not less than two hundred and fifty dollars, not exceeding two thousand five hundred dollars, for each offense.
- They waive the time limits for filing a claim if the complaint or allegation of suppression of the claim is received within two years of the employee's accident.
- Once the foreclosure is determined, the employer will be barred from any current or future participation in the retrospective rating program. If self-insured, the director will withdraw the certification as provided in RCW 51.14.080.
Section (c) is an effective punishment because it is aimed at the pocketbook of employers who repay claims. A retrospective rating program and the ability to self-insure are big dollar privileges. Employers do not want to lose the ability to self-insure or participate in retrograde, so they may be careful not to downplay requirements.
Did the employer say the following or something like that?
- You didn't really get hurt at work.
- Didn't you hurt your back at home last weekend?
- If workplace accidents are not let down, employees will receive an incentive bonus. Making a claim will cause all your coworkers to lose the bonus.
- If you injure yourself at work, you will not be invited to another job at this company.
- Employees getting injured at work are difficult here.
- If you apply, they will be fired.
- You do not have to apply. We will take care of it …
- Why not put this on your health insurance?
If so, that employer is trying to stifle the claim.
What do you do if you know the employer has dropped the claim?
- Report your workers & # 39; claim for damages
- Discuss the situation with Washington workers & # 39; compensation (L&I) lawyer.
- Go online and file a complaint with your employer – Complaint Complaint Form. See also RCW 51.28.025 (4).
- DLI has the power of inquiry and court orders: The Director of the Department or the Director of the Directorate must investigate reports or complaints that employers have engaged in suppressing claims. Each complaint must be received in writing and must include the name or names of the individuals or organizations complaining. In cases where the Department may show probable cause, the director is given authority to call upon information about the employer, health care providers, and any other entity that the director believes may have relevant information. The director's investigative and judicial powers are limited solely to investigations into allegations of suppression of claims or where the director has a probable cause that suppression of claims may occur.
The problem of physicians and nurses or work clinics having close relationships with employers
Most doctors and nurses are good people who genuinely try to help their patients. However, doctors and nurses in companies or a decline in clinics providing services to employers may have an incentive to downplay their role in reporting injuries. Their legal obligation is clear.
RCW 51.28.020 provides, inter alia:
"… A physician or licensed advanced nurse practitioner who has attended an injured worker will inform the injured worker of his or her rights under this title and provide all necessary assistance in filing this claim for damages and such proof of other matters as required by departmental rules without workers' compensation … "
Physicians and nurses who contribute to suppressing claims are unethical and should be reported to licensing boards for their unprofessional behavior. There is no legitimate excuse for any healthcare provider to use their influential position and power to harm their own patient. To report a medical professional who is doing wrong, complete the appropriate complaint form.
Suppression of claims is against the law.