Social media sites like Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat have become integral to daily life for many people. We use these sites to stay connected with friends and family, build connections with businesses and in our community, and share the details of our lives. But if you have suffered a workplace accident or occupational injury and have filed a worker’s compensation claim, posting on social media in worker’s compensation cases may hurt your outcome.
A social media page can feel personal. You share what you want, when you want, seemingly with whom you want. But whatever you post is public information, no matter what privacy settings you use. If you have a claim for worker’s compensation benefits, understand that your employer’s worker’s compensation claims adjuster and lawyers can access and review your social media accounts and will look for things to use against you.
Courts have ruled that you have no expectation of privacy in social media content. Judges do not hesitate to grant requests to use social media in worker’s compensation cases as evidence. Their rationale is that if you share online content with a large audience, it’s not private and can be used in court or as part of your worker’s compensation claim.
Oversharing is a common problem on social media sites, and revealing too much about yourself and your injuries can negatively impact your claim. A social media post can be taken out of context or used to cast doubt on your version of the events or the extent of your injuries.
Even if you don’t share details on your injuries, a post simply showing you having a good time such as posing in front of a nice background scene, performing recreational activities, or having dinner/drinks with friends can be used against you. The thought that comes to many worker’s compensation judges is if you feel good enough to have a fun time or get out of the house and enjoy a recreational activities, you are not as injured or disabled as you claim. The post doesn’t have to show any of your physical capacities, but if it shows you enjoying life while claiming a work injury or disability, that is enough to potentially damage your case.
When you make a worker’s compensation claim, the worker’s compensation insurance company of your employer will look for information they can use to discredit you. They will look for evidence that your injuries are not as severe as you claim they are or did not happen the way you say they did.
Suppose you injured your back, and your doctor said you should not lift more than 10 pounds. If you or a friend or family member post photos of you carrying a 30-pound backpack, completing an extensive home improvement project, or even cutting the grass, the insurance company’s lawyers can obviously argue that your claim for injuries is inconsistent with the activities you were performing.
Similarly, if your claim is for a serious back injury but someone posts photographs of you on a vacation or hunting/fishing, the defense could question your credibility and use the information to deny your claim or reduce your benefits award.
Even trends like “Throwback Thursday,” where users post old photos from past events, can be taken out of context and used to deny your claim or discontinue benefits. An off-hand comment that seemingly has nothing to do with your injury can be spun to show you are healthy and undeserving of worker’s compensation benefits.
The bottom line is that anything you post online can and likely will be used against you. Using social media in worker’s compensation cases may undermine your case and hurt your chances of success. The best advice is not to post anything on social media while you have a pending worker’s compensation claim.
No. If you were injured on the job, social media can be your worst enemy. Anything you post online, regardless of whether you think it directly impacts your case, can have unintended negative consequences for your claim.
The nature and extent of your injuries are cornerstones of your worker’s compensation claim. If you post online, you could inadvertently create a situation where the defense lawyer will take your post out of context and use it to minimize the severity of your injuries and how they affect you.
In general, it is best to stay off of social media if you are hurt on the job. Defense lawyers could use your social media posts to question your credibility and the severity of your injuries.
As they say, “the internet is forever.” Defense lawyers have ways of accessing even private social media accounts and contents. You should be prepared to be confronted on cross examination with anything you have posted online.
Wisconsin attorney Luke Kingree has been practicing worker’s compensation law since 2007. He has earned a reputation as dedicated advocate for injured workers who knows what it takes to get results. With offices in Madison and Eau Claire, Kingree Law represents injured workers throughout Wisconsin.
If you were hurt in a workplace accident or suffered an occupational injury, Kingree Law can help. Contact us today by calling 608-888-7694, emailing email@example.com, or completing our online form.