How Social Media Can Be Used in Workers' Compensation Claims

Massachusetts Workplace Disability Law Firm

The Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyers at Kantrovitz & Associates understand evolving trends in workplace injury law. For over 20 years, we have helped workers prove job-related harm, and advised them of the adversarial process involving employers’ insurers. We are well versed in insurance companies’ fraud detection strategies, including their use of social media surveillance for the purpose of disproving workers’ compensation claims. We are also knowledgeable regarding the parameters of safe and advisable social media activity during your claims process. Kantrovitz & Associates represents injured employees across Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire.

Social Networking Sites

Surveillance in the workers’ compensation claims process can take many forms. For example, insurance companies often hire private detectives to “tag” a claimant the day before, the day of, and the day after an “independent” medical exam. Video surveillance will record and highlight exaggerated gestures, overreactions, and inconsistent statements about an injury. Many times, the most incriminating form of surveillance is “tagging” oneself on social media websites, or sharing every detail of life through social networking sites, including:

  • Flickr
  • Xanga
  • Tagged
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Instagram

From personal interests to dating websites, the permutations are endless. Everyone stays “connected” through a web of social media. But recent events have shown the dark side of revealing too much, from aggressive monitoring and surveillance by the government to being “caught” in compromising situations that can affect your professional life and legal claims. Insurance companies have long used social networking sites to detect and investigate workers’ compensation fraud. It has proven to be a useful form of surveillance.

Getting Caught

Massachusetts law provides weekly cash benefits for workers with disabling injuries. During this time, it may seem there is nothing else to do but to keep up with social media. But posting pictures, uploading videos, and informing contacts that you “just finished hauling timber” may seem inconsistent with a debilitating injury. Many other activities could raise flags, including:

  • Traveling
  • Exercising
  • Entertaining
  • Employment
  • Contact sports
  • Large purchases
  • Grocery shopping
  • Starting a business
  • Jumping or twisting
  • Lifting heavy objects

While some injuries leave workers capable of shuttling themselves to the gym or physical therapy, serious disabilities restrict everyday life. Broadcasting your physical activity and how you are spending your time may undermine the credibility of your workers’ compensation claim, and may not properly convey just how disabling your condition may be. While it may be unintentional and seemingly harmless, it’s also human nature to exaggerate the truth on social media websites. For instance, having your social media status listed as “just finished a marathon” when in reality you are stuck on the couch in pain after walking down your driveway to your mailbox. Insurers can and will manipulate social media to argue or prove inconsistency, exaggeration, and fraud.

Use Discretion When Sharing Via Social Media

Social media does not have to be a cause for paranoia or fear. Disabled workers often find solace in talking about their injury to supportive family and friends. Some even chronicle their battle with illness and how it has impacted their lives. Experienced advocates should be familiar with social media, and as well as how to avoid undermining claims arising from job-related injuries through online videos, pictures, and blogs. With skilled legal counsel, injured workers can prepared for surveillance, and ensure they are using social media properly in this context.

Dedicated Workers’ Compensation Advocates

If you suspect surveillance by insurers and need guidance regarding wise use of social media while your claim is pending, contact the Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorneys at Kantrovitz & Associates today. We have over 20 years of experience demonstrating the impacts of work-related injury on everyday life. We have recovered compensation for workers in Boston, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Plymouth, and Merrimack Counties, as well as many other local communities. Call (800) 367-0871 for a free consultation or contact us online.