Can social media affect my workers’ compensation case?

Can’t help but post that latest picture up on Instagram about your night out on the town?

Do you make a habit of venting about life on Facebook?

Are you looking to let out your true feelings on Twitter?

Well, if you have just filed a claim for worker’s compensation, then you’ll probably want to think twice about using social media.

Why? Because your employer or their insurance might be looking for anything that they can find to deny your benefits. On the flip side, smart use of your social media accounts can be beneficial.

Either way, the truth is that social media can directly affect your worker’s compensation case.

According to the American Bar Association, anything you post on social media is considered admissible evidence. Posting on social media has been declared just as meaningful as other physical evidence.

So, you may want to think twice before you Tweet.

Social media is now considered by many lawyers to be one of the primary ways of gathering information about an individual. Whatever you post can, and probably will be used in a dispute.

Worker’s compensation fraud accounts for nearly $7.2 billion a year, meaning that employers are as wary as ever to accept a claim at its face value.

Many workers who have made fraudulent claims spend their time outside of work posting about the details of their lives. In fact, nearly 50 percent of adults regularly post on their accounts, making it easier for worker’s compensation fraud to be uncovered.

So, when Joe, who filed a claim for injuring his leg, is suddenly seen out hiking on Instagram the very next day, guess what happens? Joe gets busted. When Sally gets time off and receives benefits for hurting her back at work, her Facebook posts indicating that she works another job won’t do her any favors.

Businesses are continuously on the lookout for these online indicators. They do so for a good reason; they don’t want to be taken advantage of. Additionally, it matters for employees, as those fraudulent claims could be stealing your future raise.

In your personal situation, it’s best to use social media wisely, even when the claim is entirely legitimate.

Since employers are on the lookout for fraud, they will be watching closely. Even posting things that could be misleading should be avoided. For even the appearance of fraud may be used as evidence against you.

It is wise to heed the following advice while using social media, especially in regard to your Worker’s Compensation Case:

  • Avoid posting about vacation, trips, or fun activities which may look as though your time off is being used recreationally instead of for recovery.
  • Avoid any negative posts about your place of work.
  • Avoid any bragging or boasting about what your benefits may be for your claim.
  • Avoid any talk that could make light of your injury situation in a way that makes it seem less severe than it is.
  • Avoid posts showing you working in any way that even appears your injury was not as serious as claimed. Even innocent posts of doing basic tasks around the house should be avoided.
  • Set stricter account settings to avoid being tagged by friends or family. If they tag you in any post, it may raise red flags.
  • Do post about your injury, your recovery, and any treatment you’ve received.

Remember, even if your account is private, your employer or the insurance company may be granted permission to look into it. Instances of this have already occurred across the country.

As well as being careful about your posting on social media, other recommendations are to:

  • Avoid using any device provided by your employer for communication.
  • Avoid deleting any accounts. Deletion may appear as an attempt to hide evidence.
  • Avoid using any email provided by work.

To further protect yourself, you should seek the counsel of a workers’ comp law firm. They will be able to assist you with the proper strategy and do’s and don’ts of how to approach your social media use.

The truth is that nearly 80% of posts across all accounts are about a person’s day-to-day life. Businesses and insurance companies know this and continuously watch the accounts of workers as a result, looking for every bit of evidence they can find to work in their favor.

Altering your social media behavior might be a substantial change to your day-to-day life, especially if you are a frequent user of social media. However, it’s not worth losing your benefits or having them reduced because of a careless post.

Though you might think of your friends and family as the audience of your posts, they are not the only ones looking. Attorneys, your employer, and the insurance company are likely to be part of that audience.

The Takeaway

Social media is a significant part of our modern lives. Most people now spend the majority of their free time engaging with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, SnapChat, and other similar apps and sites.

It has been proven that most people, in posting, like to produce a “highlight reel” of their lives. They tend to exaggerate how good things are going. This tendency could prove to be especially harmful if you are in the midst of a worker’s compensation case. Posts making it seem as if nothing is wrong in your life may become evidence that you did not suffer a real injury.

This tendency, coupled with the addictive aspects of social media interaction, can lead one to be careless at times. You can’t afford to be careless while a case is being decided. Insurance companies and employers are very wary of being taken advantage of with compensation claims.

All of this makes it even more important to make sure you have the right legal counsel behind you to support and guide you during your time of recovery. Our team of workplace accident lawyers at Maggiano, Digirolamo & Lizzi can help you ensure that you receive the benefits and care that you deserve for the duration of recovery.