Is Tesla Skirting the Law in Workers’ Comp Cases?
The Center for Investigative Reporting is a nonprofit news organization based in Emeryville, California. In a recent public radio program and podcast, it recently reported that a number of major companies, one of which is Tesla, are systematically keeping occupational injuries “off the books,” ostensibly to improve their safety records. These practices are a clear violation of the laws associated with reporting workplace injuries.
The Center for Investigative Reporting, in its Reveal podcast, alleges that many larger manufacturing and automotive companies maintain on-site medical clinics. While on the surface this practice is perfectly acceptable, there are some major corporations who may be abusing the system. For instance, some clinic employees of on-site medical clinics have reported a coordinated behind the scenes arrangement that benefits both the employer and the doctor but does so to the distinct disadvantage of the injured employee.
Reveal Alleges Tesla Workers’ Comp Irregularities
One of the companies mentioned by the Reveal report is Tesla. According to the Reveal report, several of Tesla’s on-site medical clinic employees are lining up to report alleged abuses and irregularities. Tesla’s management vehemently denies any wrongdoing and has expressed to state officials that their process ensures that appropriate documentation is in place and that employees receive proper care.
According to Reveal, some of the specifics noted by Tesla’s clinic employees include:
- being pressured to prematurely close cases and state that an injured employee is cleared to work with no restrictions;
- management pressure on medical professionals to make sure that the company was not found to be responsible for certain injuries;
- changing, downgrading, or disputing diagnoses made by other medical professionals;
- classifying virtually all injuries as “first aid” whether or not they are actually more serious in nature;
- refusing or withholding approvals for diagnostic testing; refusing to provide treatment, as “unnecessary;”
- refusing to place a worker on restricted duty; and
- developing a culture where a worker’s complaints are assumed to be exaggerations and are summarily discounted.
The Workers Comp System Requires Reporting Injuries
The worker’s comp system is a state-mandated insurance program that provides benefits to employees who suffer job-related injuries and illnesses. Each state has its own programs and regulations for workers comp. However, by law, work-related injuries must be recorded on injury logs if the injury is sufficient to require medical treatment beyond first aid, if time off of work is required, or there are necessary job restrictions.
Options for Medical Care in Workers Comp
Some states, including California, allow an employee to predesignate a qualified medical group (these designations need to be in writing, prior to the occurrence of an injury).
More typically, an injured worker must at least initially go to a doctor or medical provider network designated by the employer. However, depending on the rules in your state, you may be able to change treating doctors in your workers comp case if you are unhappy with the medical care you are receiving, or if you do not believe your medical professional is providing proper treatment.
If you are injured on the job, the primary concern is that you receive prompt, effective treatment, to get you back on the road to recovery. Seeking the assistance of a qualified, experienced workers comp attorney is critical if you sense any hesitation or resistance on the part of your employer to take your injury seriously. Our attorneys are available to ensure that your rights are protected, and that you receive the medical care and benefits to which you are entitled.
Long Beach Workers Comp Attorneys
If you were injured or made ill in the workplace, we recommend that you speak with an experienced workers comp lawyer immediately. Even if you are currently receiving workers comp benefits, it is a good idea to get some legal advice to protect your rights going into the future.
An experienced workers compensation lawyer can help you identify minor issues before they become major problems – and make sure that you not only receive your benefits now, but for years to come.
Your consultation with our workers’ comp attorneys is 100% confidential, and neither your employer nor your insurance company will be notified that you requested a consultation with us. Our lawyers will help you understand your rights and work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the maximum workers’ comp benefits for which you qualify.