How Social Media Can Affect Your Worker’s Compensation Benefits

Some of the leading causes of personal injuries suffered in Illinois are work-related accidents. Whether it’s electrocution on a construction job or a slip-and-fall in the lunchroom, there is no limit to the type of personal injuries you can suffer on the job. If a worker gets injured on the job, their employer is required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance, and the worker should be able to simply make a claim and receive the medical treatment and other monetary benefits they deserve until they recover. Unfortunately, there can be many complications in the workers’ compensation claims process and a truly injured worker could find themselves facing a partially or completely denied claim.

If you’ve been injured in a work accident, your employer may try to find a way to make it seem like your injury is not as serious as you claim. They could find your Facebook page and Twitter usernames to see if something you posted could be used to weaken your argument. While a worker with a legitimate injury has no need to feel frightened or paranoid that their social media activities might compromise their workers’ compensation claim, they should use some restraint in what they choose to post.

Injury Thresholds For Worker’s Compensation

Because worker’s compensation is intended to assist you in returning to the workforce as soon as possible, this threshold may be different depending on the type of work you perform. For example, if you are an office worker and you slip on spilled coffee in the office kitchen and break your leg, you may only be out of work for a few days to treat and recover, as such an injury will not keep you from performing your job. However, if you are a landscaper and you trip and break your leg at work, this may keep you out of work for months, as walking is necessary in order to perform the vast majority of your duties. Your employer’s worker’s compensation carrier is aware of these differences, and as such, it will monitor your ability to perform the following activities during your recovery:

  • Lifting and carrying;
  • Walking;
  • Sitting;
  • Bending;
  • Laying, and
  • Driving.

This is where social media can have a substantial impact on your benefits. Let’s say that you work for the post office loading and unloading packages over 10 pounds when you injure your back on the job. You claim that as a result of your work injury, you can no longer lift or carry anything over two pounds without great pain. However, while you are out of work and receiving benefits, you post a picture of yourself holding your son, who is 30 pounds. It seems innocent enough, but you claimed that you could not lift or carry anything more than 10 pounds when you applied for compensation. If your employer sees this photograph, you may be in danger of losing your benefits. Especially if the case is contested and your employer has an attorney, always assume that they are monitoring your social media accounts for evidence that you are not suffering from the injuries as claimed.

Social Media and Injury Timeline

Another means by which social media can affect your worker’s compensation claim is if there is evidence that you really did not suffer the injury while at work. For example, an investigator for the insurance company may actually go back through your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter account history to see if you posted about a previous injury to the area claimed. For example, two months before you injury at work you may have posted that you injured your knee while on vacation skiing. If you simply “tweaked” the injury while at work, but you are claiming that the primary cause of the injury was from the work accident, your social media account may prove otherwise, and your benefits may be cut-off.

Social Media and Privacy

Studies show that close to 2/3rds of social media accounts are “public,” meaning that postings, such as photos, tweets, and status updates, are visible to anyone who searches for them. If you make your profiles and postings public, this information can be used against you during litigation and may be submitted as evidence to cut off your benefits. On the other hand, if you take advantage of privacy settings on your social media, an insurance adjuster is not permitted to “hack” your account and bypass such measures to obtain protected photos and information. Nonetheless, because social media is generally geared towards public offerings, if a friend shares your photo because such is permitted and the insurance adjuster obtains such from a public posting, this may also be used against you. It is important, therefore, to always assume a posting is public and to consult a warrior personal injury lawyer if you believe past posts may be interpreted in a manner that could affect your worker’s compensation benefits.

Injured? Contact Chicago Injury Legal at The Romaker Law Firm Today!

There are many personal injury lawyers in Illinois, but not many of these lawyers are up to date on the different social media platforms, their privacy settings, and how insurance providers are using social media to cut off your benefits. If you believe social media may affect your benefits or simply want advice on filing a worker’s compensation claim, contact Chicago Injury Legal at The Romaker Law Firm today. With over 25 years of experience and a bilingual staff, Chicago Injury Legal at The Romaker Law Firm is dedicated to providing you with the aggressive legal representation you need. We provide an initial consultation free of charge, and if we agree to handle your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if we win your case!

Contact Chicago Injury Legal at The Romaker Law Firm at 312-377-7000 today!