Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, and LinkedIn, to name few, are social media outlets where we can express ourselves to a wide audience very quickly. With one click or swipe, you can let the world know what you are doing, how you are feeling, where you are, and even who you are with. Sounds great, right? It sure does sound great to the insurance company who is paying your workers’ compensation checks!
Social media, and our compulsion to share our lives through it, provides insurance companies with an incredible amount of information. If you are receiving workers’ compensation benefits, the information the insurance company obtains through your online presence can result in benefit denial, accusations of fraud, and even jail time. Don’t be fooled--it is not just for convenience that the workers’ compensation insurance company suggests you download their app on your phone, or friend them on Facebook.
Before social media became so pervasive, the only way an insurance company could obtain information about your whereabouts and activities, was to hire a private investigator to conduct surveillance--which costs money and time. Unless your claim was particularly valuable, or the insurer already had a high suspicion of fraud, the cost was not justified. Workers’ compensation claimants could basically hide in plain sight, their privacy secured by the cost of invading it. This is no longer the case.
When you take a photo and post it to Facebook, post a comment, “like” a place or event, or if you are tagged in a photo, you are painting a picture of your daily activities. Some people are so compulsive about posting to Facebook, it is incredibly easy to access a daily summation of their activity--where they went, who they visited, what they did, what they ate, what the liked and disliked, and more. This level of detail would be almost impossible to obtain through surveillance.
Some people even post their personal thoughts on their workers’ compensation case on Facebook, going so far as to discuss conversations regarding sensitive aspects of their case. Those conversations should be kept confidential, but some people waive the privilege by posting it on a public forum. Many people don’t even realize the privacy settings on their accounts are not as strong as they seem. The insurance company’s lawyer can seek a court order to compel you to reveal your user ID and password, so they can get the information themselves
It goes without saying that if you are engaged in activities that are inconsistent with your allegations of disability, you run the risk of undermining your credibility. Your use of social media can amplify this problem by making public what was once private. This can result in benefit termination or reduction, and severely reduced settlement values. Every injured worker would be well advised to be careful about what they post or otherwise reveal through social media. Effective legal representation can limit some of the potential damage from social media exposure, but it is much better to avoid this trap for the unwary, altogether.
Contact Our Baton Rouge Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
With J. David Smith, Attorney at Law, on your side, you no longer have to be concerned about the state of your workers’ compensation case. A strongminded and experienced Baton Rouge workers’ compensation attorney, he will ensure your case is handled in a seamless and effective manner. Our trusted legal team refuses to back down from a challenge, as your success is our ultimate priority.
To schedule an initial consultation, please don’t hesitate to contact us by calling (866) 712-2667.