Social media has become an important part of modern life. According to the New York Times, Americans spend an average of three hours per day on social media sites. These sites can build communities, reunite old friends and provide entertainment. Unfortunately, they can also cause trouble for users who post inappropriate details about their personal lives. In recent years, many workers’ compensation claims in Illinois have been denied or revoked because of information found online. Injured employees can safeguard their rights by learning how to use social media in a smart and discreet way.
Social media can be dangerous for injured workers
When injured workers file a claim for compensation, their case is scrutinized closely by employers and insurers. Investigators may obtain personal information and search online sources for signs of fraud. The burden of proof is on the injured employee to show that the injury is truly disabling. If social media posts show evidence that the worker is engaging in vigorous physical activity while claiming total disability for a work-related injury, the case may be dismissed without benefits.
Many employees face the consequences of unwise social media posts
As social media use continues to grow, more and more employees find themselves losing injured worker benefits because of unwise postings. A 27-year-old forklift operator in Chicago who had suffered a leg injury was removed from temporary total disability after he “checked in” online at a nightclub and posted a short video of himself dancing. An experienced nurse practitioner in Rockford was denied benefits after a work-related back injury when she posted recent images of herself fishing on vacation in Florida and bragged to online friends about the amount of money she hoped to gain in the case.
Tips for using social media wisely
Injured workers can protect their benefits by remembering all of the following guidelines:
- Be honest. Don’t tell one story to the workers’ compensation authorities and another story to your online friends.
- Avoid discussing the possible financial outcome of the case.
- Never post status updates which make your disability look trivial or insignificant.
- Never exaggerate your current physical abilities.
- Never post any evidence of illegal activities.
Keeping up with social media can be an important way to stay connected with friends and family after a debilitating injury. By using these sites wisely, injured employees can avoid unpleasant surprises and recover with full compensation. Contact a personal injury lawyer today to find out more.