Use of Social Media in Workers' Compensation Claims
Historically, insurers have often conducted surveillance on foot. A private investigator might watch a home to see whether a person claiming to be injured was malingering. However, these days, surveillance in workers' compensation claims can take a greater variety of forms. Often, surveillance occurs on social media. Social media sites that may be subject to surveillance include Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, Xanga, Snapchat, and Pinterest. If you are concerned about the use of social media in your workers' compensation claim, you should consult the Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck.Use of Social Media in Workers' Compensation Claims
Often, people disclose only the positive aspects of their lives on social media. They might post about a planned vacation, a new accomplishment, or another happy occasion. Some people disclose too much. Insurers use social media to spy on workers' compensation claimants. They are interested in investigating workers' compensation fraud and may use various tactics to gain access to your social media. Many Twitter users have unlocked accounts, and anyone can see what they tweet — just as with Instagram. Facebook posts can be set so that they are restricted to family, friends, or acquaintances.
If you have been injured on the job, and you are being treated or are receiving workers' compensation benefits, you should be aware of the possibility that you are being watched on social media. This means not only limiting what you post but also setting your social media to avoid being tagged by friends and family members. Workers' compensation insurers are very concerned with malingering, which means pretending to have a medical condition or injury that you do not have. They may try to gain access to any private posts by sending you a friend request, or they may simply watch your public posts closely. You should be suspicious of friend requests from people whom you do not know.
If you have befriended coworkers and supervisors on social media, you may want to use custom settings. In some cases, coworkers and supervisors are used to gain access to information on your social media. Ideally, however, you should simply refrain from posting about the work accident, your health, and any treatment that you are undergoing. You should also keep in mind how someone who is skeptical of your being injured might interpret your posts. For example, you might believe that a photograph of you with your children is innocuous. However, if you are receiving benefits for a back injury, an insurer may zero in on the fact that you are lifting your five-year-old child, something that you are not supposed to be doing or that you have claimed that you cannot do. For another example, if you randomly post something about being happy and feeling good because positive posts tend to receive a better response from your friend circle, but you have claimed PTSD, an insurer may believe that you are malingering.
Often, pictures and words that you post in a moment without much thought can provide a long-lasting impression that is only a piece of the truth. For example, you may have posted in a moment of exhilaration because you were finally having a good day after many days of pain, but the insurer may interpret your post as a sign that you are exaggerating your pain or that you are lying about your injuries.Consult a Chicago Attorney Following a Workplace Accident
Insurers are often more concerned with profit than paying claimants the full amount to which they are entitled. The use of social media in workers' compensation claims can surprise some injured claimants. If you were injured on the job, you should consult an experienced workers' compensation lawyer about your claim and about what you can do to make sure that you successfully obtain all of the benefits to which you are entitled. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck, we represent injured workers in Chicago, Quincy, Rockford, Champaign, Springfield, and Aurora, as well as other areas of Adams, Winnebago, Champaign, Sangamon, Kane, and Cook Counties. Call us at 312-263-6330 or toll-free at 800-444-1525 for a free consultation with an attorney.