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5 social media postings that could affect your injury claim

| Jul 30, 2015 | Workers’ Compensation

Social media has become a prominent feature in the lives of most people living in Illinois. Through these online outlets, people share political beliefs, photos, memes and updates about what is going on around them. With so much information in one place, attorneys in Chicago and elsewhere have begun using social media as evidence in court and this includes cases involving workers’ compensation claims.

The American Bar Association points out that postings can only be done by a person who has the login and password for that social media account. Since people keep this information to themselves, courts will accept these admissions as evidence in criminal and civil cases. This evolution has put people in workers’ compensation cases at risk of damaging their claim by something they put on a social media site. Therefore, it is important to understand what types of posting can hurt them.

  • Vacation posts
    On social media forums like Facebook and Instagram, it is common for people to share pictures of trips and vacations. However, if a person has submitted a workers’ compensation claim for a back injury that prevents him from working, and then posts photos of him playing with his kids at a vacation resort, the judge is probably not going to approve his claim.To avoid problems, one thing that people can do is include the month and date that the photos were taken. In the above scenario, the person could have injured his back in the beginning of August but the photos were from June. Putting a timeframe on the photos acts as a safeguard in the event that investigators discover the posts.
  • Achievement posts
    Leaders Choice Insurance states that it is a bad idea to post comments that center around a physical achievement. For instance, a person files a claim for a disabling condition and then announces a record time for a recent marathon the person participated in. Investigators could use that post to argue that if the person can run a marathon, the person could not be seriously disabled.One person actually put up a post on his Facebook page that he bowled a perfect game after he filed a claim with workers’ compensation that he had injured his back. Postings that center around an athletic game the person played in, exercise achievements and even hiking or walking should be avoided. If a person is going to post an achievement, the person should make it clear that the achievement happened before the injury and include the date of achievement.
  • Party-related posts
    Investigators from insurance companies are always on the lookout for social media posts that can be used to deny a work injury claim. ABC News reported that photos of a man partying and drinking with friends were accepted by a court in a workers’ compensation case. The man claimed that he was in severe pain and in need of additional medical treatment for a hernia that he suffered after he was hit by a falling refrigerator. He had already been operated on three times for the injury.A Chicago workers’ compensation attorney often advises people to refrain from posting comments or photos relating to a party or celebratory event. While they seem innocent enough and the people may be putting on a brave smile for the camera, these images have been successfully used by defense attorneys to discredit victims’ cases.
  • Beauty pageants and other public events
    The Insurance Journal stated that one woman’s claim for workers’ compensation was damaged after video was found of her on Facebook and YouTube that showed her participation in a beauty pageant. Insurance investigators found the videos which filmed the woman walking in high heels after she filed a claim for workers’ compensation for an injured toe. The woman said she was unable to wear a shoe on the foot, move it or put any type of weight on it. However, investigators were quick to point out that the videos did not show the woman was in any kind of discomfort.In this case, it appears that the videos were posted on YouTube by the pageant, not the woman. People should remember that any public event could be documented and shared on social media sites and these postings present investigators with the evidence they are looking for to deny a claim.
  • Announcing upcoming competitions
    People in the public eye, such as athletes and entertainers, often rely on social media as a marketing tool. However, if people in these careers are filing for injury benefits, it is not a good idea for them to announce that they will be competing at an upcoming event. One man who was a champion bronco rider learned this lesson after he announced he was competing and invited online followers to come out and watch him, according to Leaders Choice Insurance. He had filed a workers’ compensation claim for an unknown injury.


Smart social media choices

When people have filed a workers’ compensation claim, they should be aware that what they post on social media can come back and haunt them. However, there are ways that they can protect themselves. They should be wary of accepting friend requests from people they do not know, make sure that their privacy settings are set to non-public viewing and avoid posting anything that could be connected to their injury claim. Additionally, it may be a good idea to talk with a workers’ compensation attorney in Chicago for more counsel.