Many of us in today’s digital communities feel overly comfortable sharing everything about our daily lives on social media. From what we ate at brunch in the morning to a new relationship status, it’s all too easy to put it all out there while we’re making human connections with friends, family members, and strangers. But when you’ve been injured at work, the impulse to share your pain, distress, and anxieties related to the incident may do much more harm than good. Whatever you post on your favorite social media platforms all too easily becomes ammunition in the hands of insurance companies that maximize profits over payouts. You might think that workers’ compensation benefits are different than a typical insurance claim, but private companies provide these policies just as any other insurance. Taking in more in premiums than they pay out in claims is their business model.
How Insurance Companies Can Use Social Media Posts Against You
Insurance companies—including those that provide workers’ compensation policies—make a practice of combing through social media posts to find “evidence” they can use to deny your workers’ compensation claim or prematurely terminate your benefits. They typically look for any of the following:
Posts you might have made about your accident to look for conflicting statements about how the injury occurred
Taking words out of context, such as a simple “I’m feeling better than yesterday” to show that your injuries aren’t as severe as you claim
Using photos you’ve posted to show you’ve engaged in activities that go against your doctor’s orders
Using photos of you on vacation against you, even if you were simply resting on a beach
Finding “evidence” that your pain isn’t as severe as you claim because you posted a photo of yourself at a family barbecue smiling, even if you were truly in pain at the time
Some insurance adjusters send friend requests just to gain access to your social media posts to find anything they can use to devalue or deny your workers’ compensation claim.
What About My Privacy Settings?
Many work injury victims believe they have protection through their privacy settings on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, but in some recent courtroom cases, judges have allowed access to private accounts to review posts. Though this is under review by superior courts and does not occur in every case, it’s important to understand the possibility of exposure despite your privacy settings.
In some cases, insurance companies have gained access to photos and videos of injury victims through the social media posts of others. For example, if you attend a concert with a friend and that person posts a video on their feed of you standing on your seat dancing, it could be used against you in a back injury claim. Even if you were actually in substantial pain at the time but determined to enjoy yourself despite the pain, photos, and videos of this type become powerful evidence against your injury claim.
Protecting Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
You’ve worked hard for your company and deserve the protection promised under your employer’s workers’ compensation plan. It’s important to protect yourself by refraining from posting on social media until you’ve maximized your benefits or fully recovered enough to return to work. A workers’ compensation lawyer can help you learn more about these and other tactics workers’ compensation insurance commonly uses to deny or prematurely end your benefits.