When updating your social media, workers’ compensation insurance adjusters are probably not your main audience. But when you are requesting money to pay for work injuries from an insurance company, workers’ compensation insurance included, you have to assume that the company is checking your accounts to be sure that you are using the money for a legitimate injury and in approved ways.
Without the following information, social media can have a significant—and often negative—affect on a workers’ compensation claim for damages.
Proof of Other Causes of Injury
If anything in social media implies that the injury occurred outside the course of the worker’s employment, then an employee’s workers’ compensation claim may be significantly impaired. This is because employees are only eligible for damages for injuries occurred on-the-job. A photo, status update, or conversation with another person may make an incorrect implication about how an injury was incurred. The insurance company will be looking for a way to deny your claim and anything they can interpret on your accounts might damage your case.
Lack of Disabling Injury
Social media may also weaken the argument of a person’s disability claim. Disability claims—which provide compensation for a worker’s lost wages—are only paid when the worker is wholly or partially disabled to the point where returning to work is an impossibility.
Social media photos, location pins, or status updates may suggest that a worker who’s applying for workers’ compensation disability benefits isn’t as disabled as their claim suggests. For example, getting “caught” doing any of the following listed below may impair your claim.
- Lifting something heavy
- Engaging in physical activity
- Playing with kids or pets
Social Media When Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Refrain from Talking about Your Accident
After a car accident, you may be tempted to chat with a friend or post a status update about the crash. However, you should never use social media as a forum for talking about your accident. This is especially true if your social media account is public; an insurance adjuster may look at your account at some point.
If you talk about your accident on social media, you may make an admission of fault, discuss a detail of the wreck that’s later used against you, etc. Because car insurance in Iowa is fault-based (i.e. the person, or car insurance of the individual who is at fault, handles paying for damages), admitting fault may severely impair your damages amount.
Avoid Posting Pictures and Videos
If you’re filing an injury claim after a car accident and want to recover damages for harm that you’ve suffered, avoid the urge to post pictures. An Instagram post of you doing a particular activity (walking, playing, traveling, etc.) may discredit your injury claim.
For example, if you’ve claimed a broken leg injury, but there is a YouTube video of you hobbling across your bedroom to grab something without your crutches, the insurance adjuster may question the validity of your injury. Even if you are taking part in something like #tbt (throwback Thursday) and the photo is from before the car crash, you may still see it brought up in court because you posted it post-crash.
Don’t Post Location Check-ins & Status Updates
Just as harmful as pictures, location check-ins, and status updates may be detrimental to your claim for the same reason. If you are claiming damages for an injury, but ‘check in’ to a location on Foursquare post a Facebook status update about having fun with friends at their house, an insurance adjuster may question whether or not you are as hurt as you claim.
To avoid any social media complications that could negatively affect your workers’ compensation claim, it’s best to eliminate social media accounts altogether.
If doing so is too difficult, set your profile to private at the very least, and avoid posting any photos that show you doing any questionable (due to your injury) activities. Furthermore, never discuss your workplace injury, employment status, or claim for benefits online, and especially never in a public manner.
If Your Claim Is Disputed or Denied
If you were injured on the job and needed workers’ compensation benefits to pay for your medical bills and lost wages, you have the right to seek those benefits. What’s more, you likely have the right to compensation under Iowa Workers’ Compensation Laws. If you want to know if an injury is covered by workers’ compensation or if your claim is disputed or denied, you may want to seek legal counsel.