Injured workers are generally protected from debt collections of medical debts that occur at work. This is true under Utah law and the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. In many cases you do not have to be victim to workers compensation medical debt collection practices.
What is the Utah Workers Compensation Act?
The Utah Workers Compensation Act is a state law that provides benefits to employees who are injured or become ill as a result of their employment. The law requires most Utah employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance, which covers medical expenses, lost wages, and other related costs for injured workers.
Under the Act, employees who are injured on the job or develop an occupational disease are generally entitled to benefits without having to prove fault or negligence on the part of the employer. This means that even if an employee’s own negligence contributed to the injury, the employee may still be entitled to benefits.
The Act also provides benefits for dependents of employees who are killed on the job. These benefits may include compensation for funeral expenses, lost income, and other related costs.
To be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits under the Act, the injured employee must notify their employer of the injury within 180 days of the date of the injury, and file a claim with the Utah Labor Commission within one year of the date of the injury.
While the Act generally provides benefits for injured workers, there are certain exceptions and limitations that may apply. For example, benefits may be reduced or denied if the employee was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the injury, or if the injury was caused by the employee’s intentional misconduct.
Overall, the Utah Workers Compensation Act provides an important safety net for workers who are injured or become ill on the job, and helps to ensure that they receive the medical care and financial support they need to recover and return to work.
Can debt collectors attempt to collect work-related medical bills?
Under Utah law, medical bills related to a workers’ compensation injury or illness are generally the responsibility of the employer or its insurance carrier, and not the injured employee. As a result, third-party debt collectors are typically prohibited from collecting medical debts related to workers’ compensation injuries or illnesses from injured employees.
If a debt collector attempts to collect medical bills for work-related injuries, the injured employee may be able to dispute the debt and provide evidence that the medical bills were related to a work-related injury or illness. The injured employee may also have a claim under state or federal law.
Does the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protect workers compensation medical debt?
Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), debt collectors are prohibited from engaging in certain abusive, deceptive, or unfair practices when attempting to collect debts from consumers. If a debt collector attempts to collect a workers’ compensation medical debt in violation of the FDCPA, the injured employee may have legal recourse and may be able to take legal action against the debt collector.
What FDCPA violations occur when a debt collector collects workers compensation medical debt ?
Specific sections of the FDCPA that may be violated by a debt collector attempting to collect a workers’ compensation medical debt include:
- Collecting an amount that is not authorized by an agreement or permitted by law is strictly prohibited by the FDCPA. Since medical debts that should be paid by the workers compensation fund or the employer are not the employees responsibility, it may violate the FDCPA to collect these amounts from the employee.
- The FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from falsely representing the character, amount, or legal status of a debt. If a debt collector falsely represents that an injured employee is responsible for a medical debt related to a work-related injury, this may be a violation of this section of the FDCPA.
- The FDCPA also prohibits debt collectors from falsely representing that a debt is subject to legal action, such as a lawsuit, when legal action is not actually planned or allowed by law. If a debt collector falsely represents that an injured employee’s workers’ compensation medical debt is subject to legal action, this may be a violation of this section of the FDCPA. Actually suing for a workers compensation medical debt is also strictly prohibited.
- Threatening to take action that is not legally allowed or not intended is also prohibited by the FDCPA. If a debt collector threatens to take legal action or seize assets related to a workers’ compensation medical debt, this may be a violation of this section of the FDCPA.
It’s important to note that this is not an exhaustive list of potential FDCPA violations related to workers’ compensation medical debts. If you believe that a debt collector is violating your rights under the FDCPA, you may wish to speak with an experienced attorney who can help you understand your legal rights and options.
If you are facing debt collection efforts related to workers compensation medical debt it’s important to understand your rights and options under the law. You may wish to consult with an experienced attorney who can help you understand your legal rights and represent you in negotiations with debt collectors.