The Perils Of Social Media And Workers' Comp Claims

What happens when something you buy off of an individual causes someone that you love to suffer from serious injuries? Learn what to do.

The Perils Of Social Media And Workers' Comp Claims

30 December 2015
 Categories: , Blog

Sure, you can talk about your workers' comp claim all you want on social media forums. There is nothing stopping you from complaining about your injury or your treatment by the insurance companies. However, the fact that nothing is stopping you doesn't mean that it's necessarily a good idea. Before you post -- consider what the wrong online post can cost you.

Posts That Contradict Your Claim

One of the surest ways to get yourself into trouble is to post information that directly contradicts something that you put on your workers' comp claim. Remember that part of your claim is an affidavit that you are telling the truth about your accident or injury.

If you post something on social media that contradicts what you put in your application, you can bet that somebody will see it and report you. Or, one of the dozen or so "friend" requests that you've accepted recently might just turn out to be an investigator working for the insurance company that is paying your claim.

For example, an Ohio woman told her employer that she fell in the parking lot at work. She told her online friends, however, that she fell at the gas station across the street. In another case, a young beauty queen was convicted of lying about the extent of her injuries after online videos surfaced of her participating in events in high heels -- despite claims that she had a badly injured foot.

Posts That Indicate You Have Recovered

Another way that social media can destroy your workers' comp claim is by giving investigators the evidence that they need to cut off your benefits. For example, if you claim that you have a shoulder injury that prevents you from using your arm easily, pictures of you decorating the family Christmas tree could be seen as proof that you recovered.

Keep in mind that pictures can be taken out of context and interpreted negatively against you far more easily than you can put them back in context with an explanation. For example, a man suffering from a hernia found his benefits stopped despite multiple surgeries for his injury because of pictures on his social media page of him drinking at a party. His attorney rightfully pointed out that the time at the party was unrelated to the very real hernia -- but that didn't stop the investigators from using the photos to destroy the man's assertions that he was in chronic pain.

Precautions You Should Take

Keep in mind that a spirit of cooperation with the insurance company is the sort of thing that investigators count on when asking you questions in order to intrude into your life. If an insurance company representative starts asking your questions about your computer use, internet access, and other electronic devices, you should realize immediately that an investigation is going on into your life. Investigators are trained to ask these questions to make it easier to track down your online activity.

Don't provide more than your minimal contact information without talking to your attorney first. Consider closing your social media accounts entirely, or purging any names that you don't recognize from your contacts and setting your privacy settings as high as they go. Turn off any location-tagging apps on your phone -- you don't need investigators knowing that you are trying to work out at the gym on Fridays.

In the end, it pays to keep your private life as private as possible. If you have any questions or doubts about your use of social media during this time, speak with a workers compensation attorney.