The Miranda warning read by law enforcement warns those arrested that anything a suspect says may be used against them in a court of law. While this premise involves criminal law, individuals filing a worker’s compensation claim must be similarly careful about what they say, even on social media.
Anything posted on the injured worker’s public-facing social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter could be used against them. It could be an issue even if the post comes from someone else’s account posts images or information that seemingly contradicts the information provided in a claim.
Insurance companies often will look online for evidence to stop or reduce benefits on a claim, and sometimes they may try to get access to a private account.
What can be done?
The first thing is not to panic and delete a post – this could be construed as destroying evidence. Still, some precautions can help injured workers:
- Change privacy settings: Switch them to the most private or secured setting so the general public cannot view the accounts. Do not accept new friend requests from accounts of unfamiliar people.
- Resist the urge to post: Many look to social media to connect with friends, family and co-workers, but sharing information about an injury or recovery can be a mistake. Photos of physical activity, travel, even carrying a child can lead to questions or further investigation.
- Use personal devices: Employers may have remote access to company computers or devices, so private conversations discussing the injury are not private.
- Do not use work email accounts: This also may not be private, so it’s best to use personal email accounts.
It’s important to remember than even posting things that are unrelated to the case can lead to trouble if the post is taken out of context.
No need to make it worse
Work injuries can be devastating and take a long time to heal. Fortunately, workers’ compensation benefits enable workers to still provide for their families. Endangering those benefits will generally put it at risk. Instead, it’s best to keep matters private, only discussing the injury with trusted family members and an attorney who handles worker’s compensation cases.