Workers in any industry may be capable of committing workers’ compensation fraud. A recent story involving an actor on TV’s Yellowstone indicates that show business is no exception.
In October 2018, actor Orianka Kilcher was filming scenes for the movie Dora and the Lost City of Gold when she allegedly sustained injuries to her neck and right shoulder. Kilcher filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits accordingly.
That year, Kilcher saw a doctor a handful of times. She eventually stopped seeing her doctor for no clear reason. When the insurance company handling her claim reached out, she wouldn’t respond.
Kilcher didn’t contact the insurance company again until a year later in October 2019. She informed the insurance company that she needed treatment and explained to the doctor involved in her claim that, despite being offered work since the time she’d sustained her injuries, she’d been unable to accept said work due to the severity of her pain. Kilcher began receiving temporary total disability benefits based on these claims.
The California Department of Insurance conducted an investigation that uncovered evidence indicating Kilcher had fraudulently sought these benefits. Although she claimed she hadn’t been able to work for a year after her accident, wage information provided by her employer indicated she’d actually worked as an actress in Yellowstone from July 2019 to October 2019. Records actually showed that she met with a doctor and began receiving benefits a mere five days after her last day of work in Yellowstone.
From October 2019 to September 2021, Kilcher received approximately $96,838 in disability benefits. It’s now clear she wasn’t eligible to recover said benefits.
These findings resulted in Kilcher being charged with two counts of workers’ compensation insurance fraud. They also once again highlighted that employers need not always assume that employees are being honest when they seek workers’ compensation benefits. If a Hollywood actor is willing to engage in fraud, there’s no reason workers in all other fields would be immune to such behavior.
Are you an employer in California? If you or your insurance carrier denies a workers’ compensation claim because there is strong evidence to suggest that the employee who filed
said claim is attempting to commit fraud, you must be prepared for some pushback. The employee might appeal this decision, hoping they can still collect benefits they may not be entitled to. You need assistance from a qualified legal professional in these circumstances. Gathering the evidence necessary to indicate that a worker is guilty of fraud can require conducting an investigation. You likely don’t have the bandwidth and resources necessary to conduct such an
Nor do you have to. At Sacks Law Group, APC, our Los Angeles workers’ compensation fraud attorneys are on hand to help you demonstrate why the choice to not honor a workers’ compensation claim was the appropriate one. This can help you guard against allowing an employee to collect benefits they don’t deserve. To learn more, contact us online or call us at 310-216-7778.