Social Media’s Increasing Role In Workers’ Compensation Cases
Workers in Orange County face a number of potential risks, regardless of the type of environment that they do their job in. For example, people who work inside of a building may be victims of repetitive injuries or diseases contracted by the fumes of chemicals they may work with. A construction worker could be physically injured when something falls on them or if a scaffold gives way.
Earlier this year, a construction accident happened in Dutchess County, according to the Hudson Valley Insider. Two men were trying to remove a wall at a college when they became trapped beneath it. It is unknown what injuries they suffered but they were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
Workers’ compensation claims
When workers are injured in New York, they have the right to file for workers’ compensation, which pays for their medical care and for a portion of their lost income until they are able to return to work. However employers can object to a worker’s claim and it is not uncommon for insurance companies to deny claims and try to show that a claim is fraudulent.
Adding to the challenge for injured workers is the increased use of social media postings, videos and photos in workers’ compensation cases. In February last year, a man who was injured in a warehouse accident was unsuccessful in convincing an appeals court in Arkansas that social media pictures of him partying should be tossed out. The man, according to ABC News, lost his request for further workers’ compensation benefits after the pictures were presented, showing him drinking in a social environment.
Injured workers need to be social media savvy
Insurance companies are increasingly seeking information from injured workers’ social media sites in an effort to deny their claims. This means that workers need to be especially careful with what they post, according to Morristown Patch. A worker that posts vacation photos from before the date of a construction accident, for example, could expose himself or herself to potential legal issues.
In order to protect themselves from these investigations, workers should adhere to the following guidelines:
- Make sure all social media pages are secure
- Pre-accident photos should be accompanied by text that identifies them as being from an earlier time.
- Avoid talking about the case on social media
- Think about what is being written or the message that a post may be inadvertently sending before it is posted. This could lead to a misinterpretation on the part of insurance investigators.
- Ask social media friends and family to not post pictures of them without an explanation of when the photo was taken.
By paying more attention to what they are writing and posting, injured workers can avoid unnecessary complications or providing unintentional evidence for insurance companies and employers. Talking with an experienced attorney who handles workers’ compensation claims can also be beneficial in avoiding making any mistakes on social media.