Workers Injuries At Tesla Motors Being Withheld?
Workers injuries are being hidden by Tesla Motors, according to recent leaks.
The claims are serious, so if a further investigation concludes this to be the truth, Tesla could be facing steep repercussions.
The workers’ compensation system functions using a sort of tradeoff: Companies are required to provide medical benefits for workers injured on the job, in return, workers do not file a lawsuit against the company due to their workplace injuries.
Fraud with workers compensation is typically linked to workers falsifying their injuries or the doctor’s office billing for unneeded services. However, workers compensation laws also prohibit employers from denying a legitimate work injury claim and/or attempting to prevent an injured worker from pursuing one. The penalty is usually a hefty fine and sometimes even jail time.
Doctors are able to disagree on the method of treatment for an injury. But they can’t be pressured to change their diagnosis in order for the employer to avoid a legitimate workers’ comp claim, it could be both unethical and illegal on multiple levels.
Employers are basically incentivized to have as few workers’ comp claims as possible since it keeps their insurance premiums significantly lower. Insurance companies cover the worker compensation benefits and charge employers based on the number of claims filed.
Tesla Motor Co. has a much higher level of “risk” when it comes to work-related injuries because the company uses a form of self-insurance for its employees. Tesla is directly responsible for paying up to $750,000 for each worker’s comp claim filed by employees who were injured on the job.
A significant injury to a worker could very easily cost the company tens of thousands of dollars. When running a factory that documents hundreds of injuries per year – Tesla recorded 947 in 2018 – it could add up to a lot of money for the company to pay out for injury claims, especially when Tesla is having difficulty with being a profitable company. Tesla recently shut down some stores and laid off employees to control costs.
One way for any company to keep costs down is to avoid having workers compensation claims in the first place. A number of former Tesla employees said Tesla had failed to provide injured workers with the official form to file a workers’ compensation claim.
California law requires employers to provide form DWC-1 within 24 hours of becoming aware of a workplace injury.
According to a report from the Center for Investigative Reporting Tesla systemically kept work-related injuries off the books, essentially falsifying its safety record to appear better and more efficient than it really is while also violating the law on recording workplace injuries.
These kinds of tactics are all too common in the workers’ comp world. Which is another reason it is always best to have an experienced attorney in your corner to help protect your rights and guide you through the workers’ compensation process.
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