The director of the Illinois Department of Corrections recently accused guards at the Menard prison of filing fraudulent workers' compensation claims. Such claims are filed when an employee seeks compensation for a workplace accident.
Testifying before a state legislative committee, the official argued that a number of guards at the prison had falsely applied for benefits on the basis that they acquired carpal tunnel syndrome in their wrists, and a similar repetitive injury disorder known as cubital tunnel syndrome in their elbows because of injuries suffered while turning keys in cell and unit locks.
The director argued that the filing of false claims took place over a three year period and resulted in the paying of approximately $10 million in illegitimate benefits.
The accusations highlight the fact that applications for workers' compensation benefits must be properly prepared. Failure to carefully document the particulars of how a workplace injury occurred, and to support it with competent medical evidence, can result in an employee with a genuine injury becoming embroiled in an accusation of fraud for simply asking for the compensation to which they are entitled. The assistance of an experienced workplace accident attorney is essential.
In the immediate case, the director did concede that an investigation into the accusations of fraud had not been completed, and that he did not want to prejudge the conclusions it would reach, since he also believes prison employees make a number of legitimate injury claims. Menard prison is located in downstate Illinois, and is classified as a maximum security facility, with highly dangerous and violent prisoners. The claims at issue in the current controversy were made from 2008 to 2010.
Source: CBS Chicago, "Official: Menard Prison Guards Committed $10 Million Worth Of Fraud," May 3, 2012