Transit Line Could Face $300K Workplace Injury Insurance Fraud FineOctober 23, 2015
A California-based government-owned transit agency could face $300,000 in fines for its attempts to cover up a workplace injury insurance claim. Mahmoud “Mark” Alzayat filed a workplace injury insurance lawsuit against SunLine Transit Agency. Mr. Alzayat alleged that a SunLife supervisor forced him to carry a heavy bag of cement, despite the supervisor knowing that he had previously suffered neck and back injuries. The suit also claims that SunLife covered up the fact that the supervisor knew of the injury and denied his workplace injury insurance claim.
Details of Workplace Injury Insurance Claim
In his statement in the workplace injury insurance lawsuit, Mr. Alzayat told the court that he worked on a construction project for SunLife in August 2011. His supervisor, Gerald Hebb, ordered Mr. Alzayat to lift a 90-pound bag of concrete. Mr. Alzayat stated that he was recovering from a previous spinal injury and asked that the bag be broken into more manageable pieces. Mr. Hebb refused and ordered Mr. Alzayat to lift the entire bag. According to the workplace injury insurance lawsuit, Mr. Alzayat lifted the bag, took one step, and collapsed in pain.
Workplace Injury Insurance Lawsuit Alleges Callous Treatment
Mr. Alzayat went on to say that he “couldn’t even stand” after trying to carry the heavy bag. He dropped the bag, spilling concrete mix all over the ground. He claimed in his workplace injury insurance lawsuit that Mr. Hebb ordered him to “pick up (his) mess.” Mr. Alzayat said that he pleaded with Mr. Hebb for help and that he needed to go to the emergency room. He said that Mr. Hebb “walked away” as he lay on the ground in pain, unable to stand or move on his own.
Workplace Injury Insurance Lawsuit Claims False Report
The workplace injury insurance lawsuit also stated that Mr. Hebb filed a false report regarding Mr. Alzayat’s injuries. When Mr. Alzayat filed a workplace injury insurance claim on his injury, Mr. Hebb filed a contradictory report with the state’s workers compensation agency. Mr. Hebb’s report did not include any mention of Mr. Alzayat’s injury, the argument between the two men, or Mr. Alzayat dropping the concrete bag. The agency declined Mr. Alzayat’s workplace injury insurance claim, largely based on Mr. Hebb’s report
Workplace Injury Insurance Cover-up Prompts Investigation
After a fellow employee came forward to verify Mr. Alzayat’s workplace injury insurance claim, the California Worker’s Compensation Appeals Board reversed its ruling and awarded him $93,000. However, Mr. Alzayat still filed his workplace injury insurance lawsuit against SunLine under the California Insurance Fraud Prevention Act. If SunLine is found guilty of fraud, the agency could pay fines up to three times Mr. Alzayat’s settlement amount, plus additional penalties, totaling up to $300,000.
Source: Palm Springs Desert Sun
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