Can workers’ comp claims investigators use my Facebook feed as evidence?

Workers’ comp insurance companies can and will use your social media posts to protect their assets. If you have been injured at work and have a workers’ comp claim, they may look for posts by or about you that contradict your claim that you have a disability from your work-related accident. 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 the worker’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 claimant’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 claimants’ social media 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. Many times you don’t remember who you may have accepted as a friend in the past, and it could have been a supervisor or a co-worker who can screenshot information to undermine your case. 

Basic social media tips for injured workers:

  • When in doubt, don’t. If you are involved in any kind of workers’ comp case, don’t talk about it on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat, TikTok, 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. Make sure all of your social media accounts are set to private. Review your list of friends, followers and contacts and remove anyone who isn’t a close friend or family.
  • 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.” You may not be aware of who the “friends of friends” are that may be able to see your pictures.
  • Take a break from social media during the length of your claim. Consider not posting anything and communicate with friends and family via phone call or text instead.
  • Do not accept new friend requests during your claim. Accepting new friends during your claim can possibly open up your case to more prying eyes.
  • Ask friends and family not to tag you on social media. When others tag you on social media, it shows up on their feed and allows others to see where you were and what you are doing. If someone does tag you, immediately “untag” yourself.

In conclusion, use common sense—if you wouldn’t want a defense attorney asking you about your latest Facebook photo or TikTok dance in court, don’t post it.

For legal questions or concerns, contact Atlanta workers’ comp attorney Michael Moebes at (404) 354-5432!

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