There is no question that social media has changed the world in a relatively short amount of time. As of 2016, Facebook had 1.71 billion users. To put this into perspective, the United Nations reports that more people on the planet own a cell phone than have access to toilets.
Facebook and other social media apps offer many benefits. They allow people to connect to friends from their past, they make it easy for long-distance family members to stay in touch, and they have even been responsible for kindling romances that lead to marriage. However, social media has also significantly blurred the line between private and public life.
In some cases, people have landed themselves in hot water by sharing too much information online. This has happened in a number of legal cases, including workers’ compensation cases.
If you have filed a workers’ compensation claim, it’s important to use extreme caution when sharing photos and information online. As Florida workers’ compensation lawyers, we advise our clients to avoid discussing their claim at all over the internet.
When It Comes to Your Workers’ Comp Claim, Don’t Be Social
Workers’ compensation benefits are a type of insurance, which means that insurance companies pay out the benefits when a worker makes a claim. Like any insurance company, these insurers try hard to avoid paying on claims whenever possible.
What many workers don’t realize is that workers’ compensation insurers deliberately look for evidence that a claim is fraudulent. Although evidence shows that workers’ comp fraud is actually quite low, there are still workers who file false claims.
Unfortunately, this small handful of workers makes insurance companies and employers suspicious about the majority of claims.
As social media has become more widespread, insurance companies have gotten savvy about searching for evidence of workers’ compensation fraud online.
In a North Carolina case, a woman pleaded guilty to fraud after she filed a workers’ compensation claim for a shoulder injury, then posted photos of her vacation — in which she participated in zip-lining and hang-gliding activities — on Facebook. She also appeared on “The Price is Right,” and ran up on stage to vigorously spin the big wheel on national television.
In a separate case, a bus driver from New York City said her shoulder injury prevented him from driving, yet she was caught playing drums at a concert in Europe. She also pleaded guilty to fraud.
Tips for Using Social Media
If you have filed a workers’ compensation claim, be circumspect about what you post online. Even an innocent photo can give the appearance that you are physically capable and uninjured.
For example, if someone snaps a photo of you standing on a dance floor at a wedding, it is easy for an insurance company’s investigator to claim you were dancing, even though you did nothing wrong or inappropriate.
If you use social media, keep the following tips in mind:
- Don’t discuss your workers’ compensation claim or your injury online, even over a private message application through a social media site.
- Don’t assume that the photos and information you post is private, even if you have restricted your privacy settings.
- Before you post anything online, ask yourself, “Could this harm my case in any way? How would this look to an outsider?”
- When in doubt, just don’t post it.
At the end of the day, remember that many things have the potential to look bad when taken out of context. Protect yourself by being discriminating about the things you share online.
Contact a Florida Workers’ Compensation Lawyer about Your Case
If you have been injured on the job, you have important rights. Get the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve today. Call a Florida workers’ compensation lawyer to learn more about the workers’ compensation process and your legal rights.