How can we sue my husband’s employer for false accusations pertaining to a worker’s comp case?

My husband’s employer hired a private detective to spy on him when he was off work for an injury. They charged him with worker’s comp fraud because of her findings, but we won the case in comp court. Do we have any grounds to sue them for the misery they put us through, and what is the statute of limitations for a case like this?

Asked on July 16, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Speak with an attorney, who can evaluate your situation in detail and confidence, to determine whether you may have a claim and on what basis exactly (the basis will then govern the statute of limitations). As a general rule, the fact that someone challenged your claim or even accused you of fraud does NOT necessarily give rise to a cause of action--otherwise, almost every successful claimant or litigant could then sue any and every party opposing their claim. The issue generally comes down to whether, even if they ultimately were wrong, the other party acted in good faith and on some reasonable basis for their beliefs. If they did--if the employer legimately thought that your husband might be perpetuating worker's comp fraud--then even if it turned out that they were mistaken, that would not give rise to a cause of action; employers not only have a right to challenge worker's comp payments they disagree with, but overall, they are encouraged to do so when there they have reasonable or good faith belief, to help stop fraud that hurts everyone.


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