The injured employee must be aware of the risks when using social media and cell phones!
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See also workers comp surveillance
When hearing the term social media many people immediately turn their thoughts towards Facebook. It dominates as a social media enterprise, and for many, it is a daily habit to “check in” with their location or updating their “status.” As these tidbits of information are shared on the world wide web anyone with internet access has the potential of accessing a persons activity. There are of course privacy settings which allude to limit the audience but as a non-computer person I just don’t trust that a click of a button will forever protect my privacy. I certainly do not trust a click of a button to protect my clients privacy.
Too often injured workers are on the stand at the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission being aggressively questioned by a Maryland workers comp defense attorney about particular activities they are able to perform. Often the injured worker does not remember “checking in” at a local park, or updating their status as “it feels good to exercise.” Even if the privacy settings are properly set at some point, the cached version of the comment may be accessible. For many the thought of a workers compensation insurance company surveying the persons Facebook account for damning comments is never a concern.
Not only are they surveying the injured workers Facebook page but they could also be exploring through the friends’ Facebook pages. Are the privacy settings on the friends page set to avoid discovery? “Stephanie, I had a great time dancing all night at your wedding,” said the claimant with the injured ankle.
It is best for all injured workers to stay off of Facebook for the duration of their workers compensation claim. If this is not a possibility, the next best thing someone relying on workers compensation can do is not comment, post, like, click, share… ever!
Twitter accounts have been increasingly troubling for the claimant’s attorney. Recently Twitter increased the word count maximum which means those who tweet are able to tweet more. For the Maryland workers compensation Attorney representing the injured worker, more verbiage means more vulnerability. The workers compensation adjuster as well as their attorney may take the time to review each tweet and determine if the language is helpful to a cross examination. While reviewing the content the injured worker may not see what is so bad with their simple tweet, however the workers compensation defense is paid on a daily basis to twist and manipulate simple sentences to be interpreted in their favor. A key note for the injured worker to keep in mind: testifying can be nerve racking and despite confidence and rehearsal mistaken statements are often made. The defense knows this and they take advantage of this.
LinkedIn is, on its face not harmful to the injured worker but their is some exposure. If the workers compensation claimant is on lost wage benefits or temporary total disability then they are not able to work. An active LinkedIn profile could be interpreted as actively seeking employment- couple this with a few mad tweets, or a “check in” at a job interview and the workman’s comp adjuster is going to have a field day.
Pokemon Go! and cell phone use
Be very wary of cell phone use and game play. Insurance adjuster do not hesitate to get a private investigator involved, and private investigators do not hesitate to access the injured worker or their information in any way possible. If there is a game that involves competing with another through cyber lines the injured worker must consider that the person on the other side of the game could be an investigator in wait. Waiting for the perfect instant message.