Yes, social media posts can affect your NC workers’ compensation claim

Social media postings are increasingly being used as evidence in workers’ compensation cases to deny claims.

Just about everyone in Charlotte has a presence on a social media site. They may post photos and updates on Facebooks, send tweets out about their activities or use YouTube to share family videos of vacations and other events. However, when someone has suffered a workplace injury or been diagnosed with an illness from a job they worked, posting the wrong thing on social media could hurt them.

Social media as evidence

It is easy to believe that what is posted on social media sites stays on those sites, but according to the American Bar Association, these postings, videos and photos can be used as evidence if they follow the Federal Rule of Evidence. This essentially means that the postings must be relevant to the case in question.

The Insurance Journal recently reported that posted videos of a woman participating in a beauty pageant led her to lose her workers' compensation benefits and to charges of fraud. The videos were found on the woman's Facebook page and on YouTube. They showed her walking in high heels although she stated in her benefits claim that she could not wear shoes or walk due to an injury she suffered at work.

Another man lost his workers' compensation after photos of him posted on two different social media sites showed him partying with friends and drinking. ABC News stated that the photos were admitted as evidence against his claims that he was in terrible pain and therefore needed further payments and medical care. The man had been injured from a falling refrigerator.

Avoiding unnecessary problems

Insurance agents and company attorneys have started realizing that social media can provide them with a treasure of evidence. They often will send friend requests to the injured employee or to their family and friends as a way to access information. Therefore, when people are injured at work, they should take measures to protect themselves online. These measures include the following:

  • Be sure to date all photos and videos - for instance, if someone is posting pictures of a trip taken before the injury, that person should make a statement to make that clear.
  • Make sure that photos and postings are marked for only friends to view
  • Workers should not accept friend invitations from someone they don't know.
  • Workers can mention the work injury or post photos that substantiate their claim but should avoid talking about the actual claim on social media.
  • Workers should alert friends and family and make sure that they also use the same guidelines when posting photos or video that were created before the accident occurred.

If people remain honest on their social media sites about how their injury or illness has impacted them, it will make it extremely difficult for investigators and opposing attorneys to find anything that they can use to deny the claim.

Filing for workers' compensation can be complicated for people in North Carolina. Therefore, they may find it beneficial to meet with an attorney.