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Will your social media pages hurt your workers' comp claim?

Perhaps you are one of those people who use Facebook or other social media to express your daily frustrations at work, with traffic or anything that disrupts your day. On the other hand, you may see social media as a way to spread positive feelings, so you post only those events in your life that might inspire someone else.

No matter the role you see for social media, if you have recently filed or intend to file a workers' compensation claim, you may want to be cautious about what you post. As innocent as your comments or pictures may seem to you, your employer or the workers' comp insurer may interpret them differently.

What will an insurer see?

Using restraint on social media may be a wise idea in general, but a workers' compensation claim may trigger an investigation into your private life. As with any insurance company, your employer's workers' compensation provider may want to minimize the payout for an injury claim. For that reason, the agent may search your social media for evidence that your injury is not as severe as you claim. The worst-case scenario is that the insurer finds posts that suggest your injury claim is a fraud, such as:

  • Friends who tag you in pictures showing you helping them move when you have filed a claim for a back injury
  • Posts chronicling phases of your home improvement projects when you are seeking compensation for a hand injury
  • Posts from a vacation while you are supposedly off because of a work-related illness
  • Pictures of you playing in a softball league while recovering from a foot injury

One serious problem with insurance adjusters using social media for their investigations is that they often see information out of context. The pictures you post may be from years ago, or your illness may not medically prevent you from taking a vacation with your family. However, it is not out of the question for a zealous investigator to assume you cannot be suffering from an injury if your social media posts include pictures of yourself smiling or comments about how good you feel.

A workplace injury should not have to require another struggle for you to obtain the funds you deserve and need in order to continue supporting yourself and your family. Dealing with an insurance company is one reason why many California employees seek the advocacy of an attorney when engaging in a workers' compensation claim.

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