One of the main issues with workers’ compensation fraud is the use of cappers to obtain clients and patients. Insurance Code §1871.7 states that the use of cappers to procure clients is a criminal offense! These cappers, disguised as marketing firms, are located all over California with a concentration in Los Angeles and Orange County.
A capper is a person who drums up clients for attorneys. One technique used by cappers, in recent times, is for them to leave cards at shopping malls and swap meets urging potential injured workers to contact their call center. When a worker calls the number on the card the “marketing agency” will usually send someone to the injured workers’ home to fill out the paperwork. The paperwork is then sold to an attorney.
What injured workers do not understand is that if they do not speak to an attorney directly when they are seeking representation, there is no way that that attorney can know all the intricate details of the claim in order to properly make legal decisions and properly represent the injured worker.
Moreover, it appears that these marketing agencies are specifically targeting the Latino community. It may be because these cappers, attorneys and doctors believe that Latino workers are less sophisticated and more trusting.
Attorneys & Doctors Involvement
Marketing agencies are also cold-calling people’s homes trying to solicit business for their attorneys. These attorneys will typically pay anywhere from $3,000.00 to $8,000.00 a month to get a set number of “leads” from these marketing service companies. These cappers, disguised as marketing agencies, are under a great deal of pressure to find new clients for their attorneys, so they will some times refer the same clients who have already settled their claims. In some cases, they will even fabricate new claims.
The attorney may then refer the worker to a doctor friend (usually a chiropractor) who will then send the worker out to numerous exams and diagnostic studies, which may or may not be necessary. At times, the doctor may add body parts to the claim which the injured worker did not even complain about!
If you discover that your doctor is treating body parts which are unrelated to the industrial injury, you should report this as insurance fraud to the District Attorney’s hotline number (800) 315-7672.
A True Story
One of my clients told me that her previous Los Angeles attorney brought her to the parking lot outside the courthouse whenever he wanted to talk to her. The attorney refused to show her medical reports, which she wanted to use to go forward in trial and forced her to sign a small settlement. This Los Angeles attorney did not want to spend the time needed to maximize the claim to get the benefits owed to the worker. The attorney simply wanted a quick and easy settlement, so the attorney could move on to the next victim.
What You Should Do
Workers’ compensation fraud has plagued the San Diego workers’ compensation community for many years. Workers’ compensation fraud makes all legitimate injured workers and their workers’ compensation attorneys look bad.
If you suspect your lawyer and/or doctor of participating in workers’ compensation fraud, you should immediately report them to the San Diego District attorney workers’ compensation fraud hotline at (800) 315-7672.
If you need additional information or just have questions, contact San Diego Workers’ Compensation Attorney Jack Don TODAY!