Social media posts are used for much more than sharing pictures and news with family and acquaintances. It is a tool for marketing, hard news, fundraising, and endless other purposes. It can also be used for evidence in court cases and workers’ compensation claims.
Being Mindful About Social Media
Nowadays, posting on social media is akin to breathing; for some, it is done all day long, without thinking. It has become part of everyone’s lives, for some more than others. Too often, little thought is put into the posts, and too much information is shared. Text and pictures about personal and work events are shared on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and other forms of social media, often without thought as to possible repercussions. However, it is important to understand how social media posts can become a liability for those who are collecting workers’ compensation benefits.
Social Media as Evidence
The American Bar Association considers evidence that is collected through social media to be valid. Basically, social media posts are deemed as public information, even if the account is set as private. Many law firms now use social media as a main information source, although determining its relevance is up to the court. Employers and insurance companies frequently employ private investigators, and part of their jobs is to monitor employees’ social media. Also, if an employee is concerned that their actions are being scrutinized, they can hire an investigator of their own.
Can Social Media Posts Affect Workers’ Compensation?
Since social media posts can be used as evidence, the answer is yes. Suppose an employee claimed that they were hurt on the job and could not return to work. Then a week later, this employee posts a selfie on Instagram of himself playing football. This could be used to deny his work injury claim. The investigators could check the locations and time stamps of the photos and compare it to the injury timeline.
Conversely, social media posts could help claims in some circumstances. If the injured worker posts pictures and other details that can verify elements of the occurrence, these may be able to verify the claim.
Posting Can Affect Other Lawsuits
Social media posts can also affect other claims. There are many kinds of posts that could be used positively or negatively in a lawsuit. Posting personal information on social media without thinking of possible consequences is not recommended. People who do this (especially when emotions are running high) can be providing evidence against themselves. Practicing discretion and common sense at the keyboard is always a good idea.
Cherry Hill Workers’ Compensation Lawyers of Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks LLP Protects Your Right to Benefits
If your workers’ compensation claim has been denied because of social media posting or any other reason, we can help. Contact Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks LLP. We are a South Jersey workers’ compensation law firm located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Call 856-761-3773 or complete our online contact form for a free consultation. We represent clients across South Jersey, including the City of Camden.