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The Effect of Social Media on Workers’ Comp Claims

The Effect of Social Media on Workers’ Comp Claims

If a worker gets injured on the job and their employer is required by law [1] to carry workers’ compensation insurance, the worker should be able to simply make a claim and receive the medical treatment and other monetary benefits they deserve until they recover. Unfortunately, there can be many complications in the workers’ compensation claims process and a truly injured worker could find themselves facing a partially or completely denied claim.

Workers’ comp insurance companies will look for ways to deny claims as the company wants to limit its liability like any other type of business. In addition, an employer wants to limit the number of claims that occur to avoid heightened premiums. For these reasons, both the insurer and the employer may be engaging in investigation and similar activities to try to prove that an injury did not originate from the workplace or that an injury is not as severe as a worker claims.

Social media can play a significant role in investigations

Social media sites including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and more allow individuals to share a lot of information online regarding almost any aspect of their life if they choose to do so. While some people use restraint on these sites, many people choose to put many details about their interests, experiences, and activities on the Internet. It is especially important, however, to limit what you post online if you have a pending workers’ compensation claim or are receiving benefits.

Imagine that you injured your back at work and your doctor tells you that you must rest from your job duties for a period of time because your job requires heavy lifting. During this time, you make a claim for wage replacement benefits. While you are off work, you post a photo online of you riding a bicycle and an investigator for the insurance company sees it on your profile. The investigator may use this photo to demonstrate that you are able to engage in physical activities and, therefore, should be able to return to work and should no longer qualify for benefits. In reality, the photo of you on the bicycle could be older or your back injury may only limit you from heavy lifting and not from riding a bike. However, though the investigator did not fully understand the context of the photo, you could be facing canceled benefits, which can cause financial issues.

Because it is easy to misunderstand or misinterpret photos or posts on social media accounts, it is critical to carefully consider anything that you post online while you are receiving benefits and to avoid posting at all if possible. Some posts you should definitely avoid include:

  • Information or photos of you on vacation when you are supposed to be recovering
  • Anything that indicates you have been to the gym, playing sports, or engaging in exercise not related to physical therapy
  • Posts about working at other jobs
  • Anything regarding lifting objects or engaging in activities that are prohibited for someone with your type of injury.

Even if you believe that your posts and photos are private and that an investigator will not be able to access any information on your profile, co-workers or other mutual friends may lead to your employer finding out information you posted online. This is an unexpected—though all too easy—way to jeopardize your important workers’ compensation benefits and to even spark allegations of fraud. [2]

Find out the many ways an experienced Delaware workers’ compensation attorney can help you

Many injured workers believe that they can handle their workers’ compensation claim on their own and without the assistance of a qualified workers’ comp lawyer. While this may be true in certain situations, many workers miss out on important benefits or face the complete denial of their claim due to mistakes in their case. An experienced attorney can not only represent you to prove that you deserve benefits, but can also advise you on how to and how not to act to ensure you do not put your benefits in jeopardy. You may not realize the extent of the investigation your employer’s insurance company may be conducted and, therefore, you may not realize the importance of watching your actions both online and in real life. A lawyer will discuss these issues with you to obtain the full amount of benefits to which you are entitled by law.

Call the Delaware workers’ compensation law firm of Zavodnick, Zavodnick & Lasky today at 302-364-6047 for a free consultation.

[1] http://delcode.delaware.gov/title19/c023/index.shtml#P-1_0

[2] http://www.delawareinsurance.gov/services/reportfraud.shtml


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