Stop Posting to Your Facebook Page! Why the Use of Social Media Can Be Detrimental to Work Comp, PERA and Personal Injury Claims
Use of social media has exploded over the last decade. It seems we have gone from a time when social media was limited to an organized grouping of college students’ selfies to now, when everyone—and I mean everyone—has a Facebook page or an Instagram account. Now when you log onto your Facebook page, your “newsfeed” is filled with Aunt Betsy’s latest cat photos and a co-worker’s most recent political rant. Social media can be a great thing (who doesn’t like a good cat photo?), it allows people to share their experiences and stay in touch with long-distance friends and relatives in a way that used to be impossible. So, why does the use of social media matter in the context of your injury claim? Well, it could actually matter a lot. In my experience, nothing can tank a claim faster than an ill-timed and unfortunately worded Facebook post.
More and more, insurance companies are turning to social media, hoping to find a photo or a “status update” that will give them useful information to defend against your Minnesota workers’ compensation, PERA disability or personal injury claims. It is the job of the attorney working for the insurance company to poke holes in your case. Social media can be a gold mine. While it might be fun to share photos from your recent Mediterranean cruise with your Facebook friends or a status update about your weekend jet skiing at the lake, this may ultimately do you more harm than good. It can be particularly problematic in cases where you have strict work restrictions, limiting your activities both at work and in your private life. For example, if you were in a motor vehicle collision and you are seeking compensation for your pain and limited mobility, it would be problematic to post a photo of you hiking with a group of friends. Seemingly innocuous photos such as these can be extremely detrimental in the hands of defense attorneys, who will use them to minimize your injuries and try to make you look like a malingerer.
Due to this common practice, use Facebook, Instagram, and even Snapchat cautiously. I always tell my clients to use common sense with regard to the content they post during the pendency of their claims. I ask clients not to post about their accident, injuries or the status of their claims. All of these things can easily be used against them in a deposition or at hearing. If my clients are not able to quit social media “cold turkey,” I ask that they take a serious look at each and every post before they push “send,” asking themselves whether they would be comfortable explaining the contents of the post to opposing counsel, or even a judge. If my client would not be comfortable explaining the post to these people, they have no business posting it online—even if the client believes their privacy settings are tight.
Contact Meuser Law Office, P.A. for a free, no-obligation case evaluation and consultation. The knowledgeable attorneys at Meuser Law Office, P.A. take the time with each client to help determine which benefits under the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act you are entitled as well as discuss PERA Duty Disability benefits, Healthcare Continuation Benefits under Minnesota Statute §299A.465 and personal injury claims. Call us today at 1-877-746-5680.