Can posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other social media accounts hurt your claim?
We live in a world where anything you post online can be viewed by just about anybody. In fact, there are now many different social media outlets people use, from Twitter to Tik Tok to Facebook to Instagram.
Often, people have no idea who is following them, or why. In fact, it’s common practice to accept friend requests from unknown people in order to amass followers. Normally, this can be a positive or benign occurrence. But in the world of workers’ compensation, it can actually be very damaging to an injured workers’ case.
In this article, we will explore the ramifications of social media on your workers’ compensation claim, steps to avoid getting burned by it, and proactive measures that you can take to use social media to your advantage.
How social media can be used against an injured worker
Social media can be used against an injured worker during their case. Often, when an individual is seriously hurt on the job, they are unable to work for some time and are stuck at home.
What has become readily apparent over the past few years is that people tend to spend more time scrolling through social media during their leisure time. Social media becomes a digital passageway to the world outside their surroundings.
Sometimes, injured workers also feel the need to post about what happened to them on the job. Other times, they make comments about how unfairly they’ve been treated by their employer.
Here’s a simple word of advice:
DO NOT post any description of your work-related accident or injury, or leave any comments regarding your employer, on social media after you are injured on the job.
Because anything that you post on your social media accounts, even if your account is set to private, may be discoverable.
Many people don’t remember who they have accepted as a friend in the past, and it may have been a supervisor or a co-worker who can screenshot the information to undermine your case later on. It’s always best to work with an experienced work injury attorney who can help develop the facts in the light most beneficial to the injured worker.
Insurance companies and employers do indeed troll injured workers after they have been hurt on the job. By “troll,” we mean they request to be friends, follow you on certain sites, and generally look at your social media profiles. You may not recognize that this is even happening because a friend request won’t explicitly say, “John Smith, agent for the insurance company.” In fact, it may be a dummy account that is used for the purpose of investigating a claim.
Social media tips for injured workers
Here are some tips, tricks and advice on how injured workers can avoid being compromised via social media:
- Change your profile settings to private. This can be done both on Facebook and Instagram. While it’s a simple change that can be done very quickly, it’s important to know that it isn’t foolproof. Sly insurance agents, lawyers and investigators can still find ways to view your profile — which leads us to the next tip.
- Do not post anything during the length of your claim. Take a break from posting. If you want to inform friends and family about your case or well-being, give them a call instead.
- Do not accept new friend requests throughout the length of your claim. There is no need to accept new friend requests. They will be there when the case is over. Accepting new friends opens up your case to unneeded risk.
- Kindly ask friends and family to refrain from tagging you during the length of your claim. When others tag you on social media, this will show up on their feed and allow others to see where you were and what you are doing. If they do tag you, immediately “untag” yourself.
Let’s be clear about one thing – workers’ compensation insurance companies do not make money by paying out on claims. They make money by collecting premiums and investing that money. The more they have to pay out, the smaller their profit margin will be.
One of the tools at their disposal to deny claims is social media. The same social media that you post so family members and friends can stay in touch with you, insurance companies can monitor.
Pictures you post on Facebook can be seen by others unless you change your settings. Please change your privacy settings so only friends can see your photos.
Don’t accept friend requests from strangers and most importantly, refrain from discussing your claim on any social media outlet. Insurance companies can use social media against you, so be careful.
How to use social media in your favor
When you play a game of cards, you generally don’t want to show your hand to your opponent. Likewise, social media can reveal your hand to the insurance company and your employer. However, it can also be used as a weapon.
If you notice your employer or a coworker posting about you, screenshot it and let your attorney know. Additionally, your employer may post information about job availability, which may be relevant and important.
If you have any questions about social media, don’t hesitate to contact our experienced Atlanta workers’ compensation attorneys.