In the midst of a workers’ comp case, most insurance companies will use whatever they can get their hands on to protect their assets—including social media. Although a legal precedent has not been set, some courts have allowed the use of photos and personal information posted to social media sites as evidence for a plaintiff’s condition, or what they perceive as the lack thereof.
In the past, Supreme Court judges have openly reminded defense attorneys that asking for evidence, such as access to a plaintiff’s social media accounts, doesn’t guarantee access to that information. In order to request and receive such evidence, eager defense attorneys not only need to explain why they need the information, but also prove that it can’t be gained via the usual means, such as interrogatories and depositions.
Even though it seems that most workers’ comp plaintiffs’ Facebook feeds are safe from the prying eyes of suspicious defense attorneys, it pays to be prudent about what you choose to share with the public. Here are a few basic tips for maintaining both your privacy and the integrity of your workers’ comp case:
When in doubt, don’t.
If you are involved in any kind of workers’ comp case, don’t talk about it on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or your blog. If you have to ask yourself, “Should I post this?” then the answer is probably a resounding “No!”
Be proactive about your privacy.
If you don’t want anyone stumbling upon what could be perceived as compromising images or information about you, be smart about your social media privacy settings. Lock down your Facebook page, privatize your Twitter account, and make sure your blog is password-protected.
Think about how your posts relate to your workers’ comp case.
If a serious back injury sustained on the job has put you out of commission, you probably shouldn’t post pictures of last week’s pick-up basketball game—even if you were just the referee. Think long and hard about how an insurance company might interpret any photos or information before you click “Publish.”
In conclusion, use common sense—if you wouldn’t want a defense attorney asking you about your latest Tweet or Facebook profile picture in court, don’t post it.