There was some TV show back when I was a kid, maybe Different Strokes, where one kid had drugs and asked a friend to hold it for him. The friend was reluctant to do it, but gave in to the pressure. They are told if anything happens, they will take the blame. As you can imagine, he got busted, said it wasn’t his, and that didn’t do him any good. There was probably another lesson in there about staying away from drugs, but you get the idea. I’m sure Mr. Drummond wasn’t pleased.
The modern version of that happens often with Illinois work injuries. You get hurt on the job, tell your boss you were hurt at work, and they ask you to tell the doctors it happened at home or somewhere else. You are reluctant to do so, but like your job and your boss, and they promise that they’ll pay your medical bills. You think that sounds reasonable, so you lie at the ER. Your injury is more serious than you thought and suddenly there are $20,000 in medical bills. When you ask your employer to pay them they essentially say, “What you talking about Willis?!?”
So now you can’t get medical care, you’ve got a lot of debt, and your injury is getting worse. You call a lawyer and tell them your story. They won’t help you because of the lies, and things go downhill in your life from there.
I hear a version of this all the time. I recently was contacted by the one person we might be able to help. His boss told him to lie about how he got hurt, but was dumb enough to do it by text message.
So why do people agree to lie? There’s pressure. There’s fear of losing their job. A misplaced faith in the employer. A lack of understanding about how workers’ comp really works.
Why does the boss ask you to lie? If they own the company they are worried about their insurance rates going up. If they are a supervisor, they are likely compensated by reducing safety issues. Some of these guys literally just don’t want anyone to get any money. They’ve committed a felony and don’t have insurance.
Whatever their reasons, they know how work comp really works and are only looking out for themselves. There is not one reason a superior would ask you to lie that is for your benefit.
I get that you can feel pressure, but I promise you that I’ve never seen an employer ask a worker to lie and have it not blow up. The best case scenario is your group insurance pays most of the bills and you end up paying a bunch out of pocket. That “best case” scenario is also you committing the crime of insurance fraud. The worst is that it literally ruins your life and you go bankrupt when being honest would have protected you.
We always tell our clients and callers that you have to look out for you. If someone is asking you to lie, they are looking out for themselves and themselves only.
So please don’t lie. And if for some reason you feel no choice but to lie because they promise they’ll pay the bills, make sure you get a written agreement from them first.