The answer is simple. Yes, social media can impact your workers’ compensation case. I have seen it. Social media postings can impact any litigation.
The big point to understand is what post on social media, such as Facebook and Instagram, is not private. Once you post, share, or tag it is public regardless. Even if you delete the post later, it is never gone and is discoverable. Sharing information about your case or injury or physical condition can damage your case.
I can assure you that insurance carriers and their attorneys will do a social media investigation on you, especially if your workers’ compensation is denied. You can also bet that your spouse’s social media pages may be reviewed by the insurance carrier as well. In fact, when an insurance carrier pays for surveillance on an injured worker, part of that surveillance investigation is a social media review.
Social media has become a fabric of American modern society. We post social media posts to share our lives with others. Smartphones and Apps make it all too simple. These social media platforms are so pervasive in society today that a social media background search is commonplace. Even employers use social media as a reference when hiring new employees. What you post matters. It may seem insignificant, but attorneys are skilled to make arguments.
Social media pictures and posts are frequently entered as evidentiary exhibits in a workers’ compensation case. I frequently receive emails from insurance carrier attorneys with attached photos or posts from Facebook or Instagram.
What are they looking for?
They are looking for posts or photos involving the injured worker that could be construed to be inconsistent with your injury and inconsistent with your testimony of what you say you can do.
For example, if your work restrict ions indicate you can’t lift over ten pounds, but you post a photo holding, carrying, or lifting something over ten pounds, that is inconsistent. If you testimony regarding your back injury is that you are in pain all the time, but you post a photo riding an ATV ion the woods, well, that would be inconsistent to your testimony. Remember, attorneys for the insurance carriers are skilled litigators. They can and will make arguments of inconsistency and try to undermine your credibility with the Workers’ Comp Judge.
What can you do?
First, remember that what has already been posted is already public. You have already made it public even if you delete it.
Second, after a work injury occurs and you enter litigation change privacy settings to the most restrictive. That way your posts can only be seen by those you want to see them.
Third, do not post to social media until you are fully recovered from your work injury. Just do not post anything about your injury or anything you are doing physically. It really is that simple. An insurance carrier can’t submit social media posts that conflict with your testimony or injury if there are no posts. Be smart.
My advice . . . do not post on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram during your workers compensation case. That makes it simple and easy. What may seem like an innocent or funny post can be turned against you in your case. I have seen it numerous times.
A final word on text messaging . . .
When you are injured at work, DO NOT text your employer, your boss, or your co-workers about your injury or your case. Too often these text message are introduced into evidence against the injured worker. We are living in a texting world. We text friends, family, co-workers, and even businesses. Just like social media posts . . . once you send the text, it is received by another. You can delete it all you want, but it is already out there. Let me repeat this one final time . . . DO NOT text your employer or coworkers about your injury or case.
If you have been injured at work, call Mooney Law right away. We will provide advice and insight to protect your workers’ compensation benefits and rights. We offer absolutely free consultations for Pennsylvania and Maryland injured workers. Call today at 833-MOONEYLAW or 717-200-HELP. You can also email us to schedule a free consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org.