Social Media: An Injured Worker's Worst Enemy
Our culture has become one of “sharing” everything about our lives on social media. In the realm of workers’ compensation, this can have a negative impact on your claim. First and foremost, we recommend that you do not “friend” your superiors or your coworkers on Facebook or on any other forms of social media. The privacy settings on your social media need to be kept just that, private. In our experience, your claims adjuster, employer, and their attorney will look to your social media as an avenue for developing evidence to reduce their claim exposure or to find a reason to deny your claim. Therefore, it is important to make sure that you keep your social media private rather than allowing it to be accessed by the public.
Many times we will post things that are seemingly benign, or others may tag us in posts that also do not appear to be damaging. However, to the outsider, your activities could be construed as exceeding your work restrictions, or “not the activities of someone who is actually hurt”. Rather than trying to explain away your social media posts, our best advice is to first, get off social media altogether while your claim is pending. But, if not, at the very least, limit what you post and make sure that your settings are secure. Finally, make it a point not to connect with anyone from your employer on social media as this could be a recipe for disaster. As much as you would like to believe that your coworkers are loyal friends, when their job are on the line, they will not hesitate to provide your superiors with whatever information or access that they request.
Your Facebook or other social media posts are potentially discoverable if your case is in litigation, which means that your posts can be used against you. Make sure not to post old photos that involve physical activity because the date/time stamp will show a current date rather than when the photo was actually taken. Be sure that you do not “check in” at physically demanding locations. Also, if someone else tags you in a location or in a photo that could in any way be misconstrued, delete it immediately. While social media has become a part of day to day life, it is very important that you limit your exposure on social media forums and ensure that your appearance on social media is in line with your presentation to your physicians. When making decisions regarding your social media use, err on the side of caution. This will avoid unnecessary problems from arising in your claim. Mistakes could be very costly. When in doubt, always ask your workers’ compensation attorney for advice before posting anything on social media.