Social media can be a double-edged sword. While it can be a tremendous aid in keeping in contact with an extended network of friends and family, it can also be a potent weapon used to deny your Workers’ Compensation claim.
Access to Social Media
While some are familiar with social media privacy settings, others are not. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, often use “public” as the default setting. This allows anyone to view your posts regardless of whether you know them or not. Other “private” settings are available that restrict who can view your posts or comment on them. Unfortunately though, most people are unaware of the extent that social media can erode their privacy and potentially interfere with legal proceedings. It is important to remember that anything posted on a public-facing social media site or app can be used as evidence in a legal proceeding.
Even if you do not have your own accounts, you may still have a “presence” on one or more social media sites. Pictures of you can be posted by friends or acquaintances to their social media page. You may not always know these posts are out there unless you are friends with the person who posts. Even more ominous is the fact that posts on social media are immortal. Even if a post has been removed from social media, it is quite possible that someone else has already captured the content.
Change in Pennsylvania Trial Court
Access to information kept private using a site or app security setting is not typically granted to an opponent in a legal case. However, a Judge in a Pennsylvania trial court recently granted an insurance company defendant access to a plaintiff’s private Instagram account. This is a new development that highlights the need to use special care when posting to social media or allowing others to post your image (or comments about you) while you are involved in a legal proceeding.
Social media is not always a foe in legal cases. It is quite possible that your social media sites can independently corroborate details regarding your Workers’ Compensation claim. However, the opposite can also be true. Insurance companies often troll social media looking for evidence that could undermine your claim. If they discover posts that seem inconsistent with the timing of your reported injury, this evidence may be used against you. It can also be time consuming and expensive to follow up on evidence they have found and explain why they are mistaken.
Do not delete anything that has already been posted. This can be viewed as destruction of evidence and can even result in criminal charges against you. Use privacy settings, be careful not to post pictures that can be misconstrued and advise your friends to do the same.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Advise Clients on Protecting Their Rights to Benefits
Our full-service law firm has experienced work injury lawyers who have successfully represented countless clients in Workers’ Compensation cases. If your Workers’ Compensation claim is refuted based on a social media post or for other reasons, you may still be entitled to benefits. Call Freedman & Lorry, P.C. at 888-999-1962 or submit an online contact form for a free initial consultation with a seasoned Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyer to discuss your case. From our offices in Philadelphia, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and Pinehurst, North Carolina, we represent clients throughout the surrounding areas.