Social media connects more and more people every day. For some, social media is a necessary evil, while for others, it’s a chance to post every detail of their day-to-day life, no matter how minor. In this modern era, social media in the workplace is common, as employees often check their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media accounts frequently throughout the day.
However, it’s important to exercise restraint regarding what you post on social media, especially if you have a workers’ compensation claim.
To better understand what this means, we have to first understand what workers’ compensation is? It’s insurance that a company has that pays an employee wages if that employee gets injured on the job. Each state has its own set of regulations that govern how the process works. There are a few mistakes to avoid after getting injured on the job, although the general process is similar from state to state.
Now, you may be wondering what are the effects of social media on your workers’ compensation claim. If you use social media responsibly, there won’t be any effect on your claim. But it’s important to keep in mind that the insurance company paying your claim and its lawyers are always on the lookout for workers’ compensation fraud, where an employee lies about how an injury occurred or the severity of their injury to collect a check without working.
As long as your claim is legitimate, you typically don’t have anything to worry about. Despite that, it’s still wise to watch what you post on social media, because you don’t want to give the wrong impression to the insurance company. Misunderstandings can occur very easily with social media posts, and it would be a major inconvenience to need to look for personal injury lawyers simply because you made an ill-advised social media post and the insurance company felt you were committing workers’ compensation fraud.
Don’t think that insurance companies and attorneys are watching your activities? Just take a moment and read this whitepaper on the importance of social media in sniffing out workers’ compensation fraud. In that whitepaper, one executive from a company that administers workers’ compensation claims says:
“It’s really amazing what people put on Facebook, and then brag about it,”
He then tells the reader of that whitepaper:
“You’re looking for an indication of activity they’re talking about that they’re not supposed to be doing.”
They’re watching, so you should be careful.
There are several things to avoid posting when you have a submitted a claim. One type of post that can cause the most significant issues is anything related to physical activity if you have a debilitating injury or if you’re supposed to be taking time off from work to rest. For example, if you’re receiving workers’ compensation and are under doctor’s orders to minimize physical exertion, you definitely shouldn’t post any pictures, videos or comments about hitting the gym or playing sports. The insurance company could see that and deny your claim going forward or charge you with fraud, claiming either that you clearly exaggerated your injuries or that you weren’t making an effort to get better.
Posting photos or videos of yourself on vacation is also a bad idea. While it’s not necessarily prohibited for you to go on vacation during your claim, it can arouse suspicion. Of course, you shouldn’t post about any work you’re doing or other jobs that you’re working at, even if those jobs aren’t as demanding physically. The insurance company will argue that if you’re healthy enough to work elsewhere, you should be healthy enough to work anywhere.
When you’ve suffered an injury, it’s normal to want to post about your recovery on social media to keep your friends and family members in the loop. While this is fine, keep in mind that you don’t want to give the workers’ compensation authorities one story, and then provide a different story through your social media accounts. If there’s contradicting information there, then you won’t be seen as trustworthy anymore.
Make sure you don’t minimize your injury when you’re talking about it on social media. Even if you’re just trying to reassure your loved ones that the injury isn’t that bad, this is very easy to misinterpret.
Definitely don’t post anything about the financial aspect of your workers’ compensation claim on social media. It’s smart to avoid providing any financial information on social media to begin with, and it’s even more important when it comes to the outcome of your claim.
You don’t need to be paranoid about the effects of social media on your claim, but you should always think before you post, and consider how your posts could be interpreted by your employer or the insurance company that is paying your claim. Social media posts cause misunderstandings all the time, but in situations like this, a misunderstanding could be very costly for you and could harm your reputation. Being a bit more cautious about what you post is while you have an active claim is well worth it.
Being aware of your audience is always important when crafting posts for your social networks. By submitting a workers’ compensation claim, you have added the insurance companies and their attorneys to your audience. Even if you protect your posts with permissions, or lock down your social media accounts to only those that you approve, it’s still possible for your network to share your status updates, photos, and videos. Heck, another employee could just screen capture your photo and send it to your boss as an email. To avoid any misinterpretations, just be cautious about what you post on social media during your claim period.
|Thanks to Delan for sharing his thoughts and experience with this topic. I hope that none of our readers have to struggle through the challenges of a workplace injury, but if you do, it’s a good idea to heed Delan’s advice and really think through the possibility that insurance companies or lawyers might misinterpret your photos, videos, tweets, and status updates. Be careful, protect yourself and your family.|
Have a comment or experiences with a workers’ compensation claim that was questioned because of social media? Share it in a comment!