SOCIAL MEDIA AND YOUR Workers’ Comp CLAIM
The pitfalls of social media are widely publicized. Your privacy on the internet should always be a concern. This is a particularly true if you have a pending workers’ compensation claim. So this is a friendly reminder to be cautious about your posts on social media.
Surveillance is no longer restricted to the old fashioned private investigator. Surveillance now encompasses social media and other information that can be accessed via the internet. Your employer and/or the Ohio BWC representatives may very well be monitoring your activities on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. Information about other legal matters can easily accessed such as a prior criminal record or other civil litigation matters Some information is merely public record. Other times you can help yourself by not giving your adversaries fodder to challenge your claim.
Here are some general suggestions:
1) Do not post derogatory remarks about your employer, co-workers or supervisor on social media. If your claim goes to a hearing such posts can be used to attack your credibility. If nothing else, it may motivate your employer to be more aggressive against your claim.
2) Review your past social media posts. If there is even a hint that something could be considered contrary to what you are alleging in your claim, then delete the post immediately. What you may think is inconsequential can be construed differently by your employer or the Ohio BWC. This is particularly important if you were granted permanent total disability or a loss of use award. An example: A client alleged an injury to her wrist at work. The employer used her Facebook posts to argue against the claim. The employer argued that the wrist apparently was not injured if she was able to bake large quantities of holiday cookies. There were photos of the client using a commercial size mixer, hand mixing cookie dough with the injured wrist, and hundreds of cookies as the finished product.
3) Consider suspending your social media accounts if you can’t trust yourself to be impulsive while a claim is being adjudicated.
4) Review your resume and past work history on your social media profiles, especially LinkedIn. Or even consider taking down a LinkedIn account. Another example: a client filed for permanent total disability. He opened a Linked In account with the intent of only keeping in touch with former co-workers. However, such an account raised the possibility that he was ready and able to return to work. Obviously this was contrary to what was being sought after with the permanent total disability application.
Bottom line, THINK before you post!