Fraudulent concealment is a deliberate hiding, suppression, or non-disclosure of an important fact or situation that one is legally bound to reveal with an intent to deceive. In the context of employment law, fraudulent concealment can happen when an employer knows that there is a risk of injury on a job and deliberately conceals that fact from an employee. An employer can commit fraudulent concealment through a direct lie or through lying by omission.
For example, an employer can be liable for an employee’s injuries from toxic chemicals if the employer 1) knows about the dangers but doesn’t inform the employee or 2) lies about how safe the chemicals are. In either case, the employer knowingly and deliberately did not tell the employee important information that the employer was legally bound to.
How Can Fraudulent Concealment Affect Me?
First, fraudulent concealment can affect how the worker’s compensation system operates. Under most systems, worker’s compensation is the exclusive source of recovery for injuries that occur on the job. This is meant to help these claims get resolved quickly, allowing employees to be compensated for their injuries, at minimal expense to the employer. However, if there is fraudulent concealment by the employer, these injury claims can usually go through the worker’s compensation system and the courts at the same time.
What Can I Recover If My Employer Committed Fraudulent Concealment?
If an employee has a claim for fraudulent concealment, he or she can recover damages that go far beyond compensation for lost wages and medical bills. The employee can also get punitive damages. Punitive damages are not attached to any single injury, but are meant to punish wrongful conduct by an employer and to hopefully prevent it from happening again in the future.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
If you have been injured as a result of your employer committing fraudulent concealment, you should contact an attorney. An experienced worker’s compensation or employment lawyer will be able to give you advice as to all of your options and direct you towards your best course of action.