Can Social Media Be Used Against You in a Workers’ Compensation Case in Pennsylvania?

Social media has become a defining characteristic of our times, and millions of people use it daily. While you might think your social media is harmless fun, it can be used against you in a legal setting, like a Workers’ Compensation claim.

An insurance company might use social media to deny your Workers’ Compensation claim. This tends to come up when the things a person posts on social media do not align with their claims. For example, photos or videos of you appearing uninjured shortly after your accident might be used to deny your claims. Unfortunately, much of what is posted online lacks context, and you might be wrongfully denied. The insurance company might obtain your social media information if it is publicly available. If you have strict privacy settings, they might get your information from people who know you. If all else fails, the insurance company might try to get a court order compelling you to hand over your social media. Talk to an attorney about how to protect yourself.

To get a free, private case evaluation, call our Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation lawyers of Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates at (215) 515-2954.

How Social Media Might Be Used Against You in a Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Case

When you begin a Workers’ Compensation case, your claims may be subject to scrutiny and investigation by your employer’s insurance company. The insurance company is responsible for making payments if your claims are approved, and they may refuse to cover you if they believe your injuries and accident do not qualify you for Workers’ Compensation benefits. The extent of the insurance company’s investigations might surprise you, and social media is not off-limits.

The insurance company may take information from your public social media profiles in the course of their investigations. They might also take information from other people’s public social media profiles that you were unaware had been posted.

For example, you might not post anything on your own social media after the accident, but someone who knows you might. Alternatively, other people involved in the accident at work might have posted about it online. Even if they were uninjured and did not file a Workers’ Compensation claim, their social media might be used against you. Another possibility is that someone close to you might snap a picture or record a video of you and post it online. If the insurance company finds this, they might use it against it.

A good question to ask yourself is what your social media suggests about you after the crash. Usually, insurance companies are looking for evidence they can use to deny your Workers’ Compensation claim. For example, photos or videos of you appearing uninjured after the accident or posts that contradict your story about how your accident happened might be used to undermine your claims.

How the Insurance Company Might Obtain Your Social Media in a Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Case

Social media details are sometimes easier to get than people realize. If you have a public profile that anyone may view, it is extremely easy for the insurance company to look you up and make copies of anything you have posted.

Details about your accident and injuries might also be available through others who can access your social media. You might have coworkers who follow you online, or you have approved as friends on your social media. The insurance company might ask your coworkers about what you have posted on your social media.

The insurance company might instead obtain information from other social media accounts you do not control and have nothing to do with. For example, a coworker, friend, or family member who knows about the accident might post about it online without talking to you first. They might disclose details about how the accident happened or your injuries that undermine your claims.

The insurance company can also seek a court order for your social media. To do this, they usually must prove to the court that your social media contains important evidence relevant to the case. Our Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation lawyers can work to get such a court order denied.

How to Prevent Social Media from Being Used Against You in a Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Case

Perhaps the best way to prevent an insurance company or some other opposing party from using your social media against you is to totally avoid posting anything online after your workplace accident. If you never put anything on your social media, there is nothing that can be used to undermine your claim.

If you must post, get approval from your attorney first to avoid accidentally disclosing private information that could be used to deny your claims. People sometimes post information about an on-the-job accident so that their friends and family know they are okay. If you do this, avoid giving away too many details about the accident and your injuries.

It would be best if you restricted who can see your social media profiles. Double-check to make sure none of your profiles are publicly available. Set the highest privacy setting possible. Avoid approving any new friend or follower requests, as you never know who might be behind those profiles.

Do not delete your social media accounts or anything you have posted. If the insurance company wants to see your social media, but you have deleted it, they might accuse you of trying to destroy evidence.

If the insurance company tries to get a court order compelling you to hand over your social media, there might be a few different ways to approach the problem. First, we can convince the court that your social media is not relevant and does not need to be disclosed to the insurance company. This can be an effective strategy for those with social media but do not use it often. Your social media is likely not very useful evidence if you have not posted anything online in a long time.

If the insurance company will likely get the court order they need to obtain your social media, we can work with them and the court to restrict what kind of access they have. We can argue that they should not have access to any of your social from before the accident, as it is private and otherwise irrelevant.

Call Our Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Attorneys for Support Now

To get a free, private case evaluation, call our Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation lawyers of Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates at (215) 515-2954.

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