Yes. Posting on social media can definitely have a negative impact your workers’ compensation claim. Please know that if you are injured at work or have a disease brought about by your occupation, you can file a workers’ compensation claim with the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) or your self-insured employer. You file the claim to hopefully receive benefits and compensation while you recover from your work related injury and/or disease. However, some things, like social media, can actually hurt the success of your claim.
How Can Social Media Hurt a Claim?
Social media posts can ultimately cast doubt on the seriousness of the injuries that you include in your claim. In some cases, L&I or a self-insured employer may allege that you submitted a fraudulent workers’ comp claim. The reasoning is that your posts may show that you never suffered a workplace injury and you falsified your claim. A fraudulent claim can have serious monetary consequences and even possible criminal ramifications.
Let’s consider an example. Assume Joe holds an administrative job in a business that occupies a two-story building. Joe often uses the building’s stairs to speak with personnel in different departments. One day Joe slips down the stairs and badly twists his knee. He soon files a workers’ compensation claim and insists that he suffers pain and limited mobility in his knee due to the injury.
Now assume that Joe starts posting pictures on such social media channels as Facebook and Instagram. The pictures show Joe taking part in a 5K run. He even posts a caption with the pictures that reads, “So much fun to run with my friends today. I think I could have ran another two miles.”
Here, the posts cast severe doubt on the seriousness of Joe’s injuries. There is no way he could have happily run a 5K with a knee injury that causes pain and limited mobility. In fact, the pictures may even suggest that Joe made up his initial “injury.” If L&I or the self-insured employer discovered the images, they would likely deny Joe’s claim or severely discount the value of his claim.
Will L&I Check Your Social Media?
Yes. Note that L&I and self-insured employers actually lose money if they have to pay out on a workers’ comp claim. As a result, they do a good job of investigating claims to find a reason to deny your claim or pay you less than what your claim is truly worth. Reviewing your social media accounts are part of this investigation.
Note as well that workers’ comp claim managers may try and take posts out of context to question your injury. A claim manager could use a picture of you smiling at a relative’s birthday party to reject your assertion that you’re in constant pain because of your workplace injury. Or, a claim manager could use a post commenting on your physical therapy following a work injury to suggest that you never really needed therapy in the first place. All of this may sound harsh, but it all can definitely take place.
So, What Should You Do?
We recommend staying clear from social media while your workers’ compensation claim is pending and when the claim is open. The safest bet is to deactivate them, as hard as that may be considering how prevalent they have become in today’s world. Deactivating them will help ensure that you receive all the benefits you deserve. As the saying goes, “better safe than sorry”.
Further Questions? Please Contact the Law Office of Kevin D. Anderson today!
Kevin has been helping injured workers with their workers’ compensation claims for over 13 years. We stand up to L&I and self-insured employers and make sure that you receive all of the necessary medical treatment and benefits you deserve. Do yourself a favor and contact us now for a free consultation to see if we are able to help you with your workers’ comp claim!