Workers’ Compensation And Social Media Sabotage In New York

Workers’ compensation money and benefits helps many employees injured on the job to heal without the threat of financial ruin. These workers face an inability to work coupled with unexpected medical bills; luckily the workers’ compensation system helps them to stay afloat. Unfortunately, some people abuse the system by exaggerating the extent of their injuries or by providing evidence for an injury that did not actually occur.

These dishonest few have made it more difficult for employees with real injuries, who are now watched with critical eyes. While social media websites like Facebook and Twitter allow people to stay virtually connected with friends and family members, they are now a hotbed of information that can be used to sabotage employees who file for or currently receive workers’ compensation in states like New York.

Workers’ Compensation: Right Or Privilege?

According to the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board’s website, New York laws require that most employers must have workers’ compensation insurance to financially or medically cover any employees injured on the job or from job-related duties. Some employers, such as certain independent contractors and sole proprietors, are not legally mandated to carry workers’ compensation insurance.

While workers’ compensation is a right for the majority of workers in New York, it is also somewhat of a privilege, because those injured while intoxicated or intending to harm themselves are excluded from coverage. Claims disputed by employers or insurance carriers are approved or denied by the Workers’ Compensation Board and its judges. So, if an attorney or other party to a workers’ compensation claim discovers virtual evidence that a related injury may be false, this could negatively impact the injured employee’s access to benefits.

LinkedIn, Twitter And Facebook, Oh My!

Social media websites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are a fun, easy way to maintain connections with family, friends, co-workers and other groups of people. Although their use may seem harmless, these social media websites have become key sources of personal information for attorneys and investigators to use against people during litigation for such issues as divorce, child custody, murder and now workers’ compensation benefits.

A recent article posted on the Workforce Management website dealt with how workers’ compensation claims investigators use social media sites to catch cheaters. One investigator offered that, “A lot of people post things they don’t expect the insurance carrier is going to be looking at. Their geology hobbies, reunions, bowling, the leagues they are involved in, fishing tournaments, hunting clubs … pastimes, organizations. Then you can further mine that for information [counter to] their claim.” Injured workers must be cautious about what they and others post on the Internet.

From Friends And Followers To Informers

If you have recently filed a workers’ compensation claim in New York, or currently receive benefits, beware of what is currently posted about you on any social media sites and ensure you set the most protective privacy settings. While you may be wary of what you post, check that your Facebook friends and Twitter followers do not become informers against your case by posting text or pictures that could be misinterpreted.

When it comes to investigating workers’ compensation claims, if it is posted on the Internet, even on social networking sites, it is fair game for use in overturning or denying benefits to injured workers, regardless of how legitimate the injuries may be. In New York, it is a felony to file a false workers’ compensation claim, but even valid claims can be rejected if there is enough evidence to defeat them. Contact a New York workers’ compensation lawyer if you have questions or concerns about your social media habits in relation to your past, current or future workers’ compensation claim.