Social Media – Be Careful What You Tweet Or Put On Your Wall From A Workers Compensation Perspective
For many injured employees, if they are faced with the situation whereby their workers comp claim is in dispute, then chances are that they would turn to a skilled team of workers compensation lawyers for assistance. However for any injured party/parties looking for legal assistance there is one action that they might partake in that just might be their downfall and that is to post any comments, or pictures on popular social media websites which may play their injury down.
Social media websites are becoming incredibly popular, as the majority of us are keen for our lives to be played out in public. In the main, posting pictures of a fun time that you had with friends may seem pretty harmless and in most cases it is, but what if you were off work with a supposed reoccurring back problem? An LA workers compensation lawyer explains…
This is exactly what happened to an Arkansas man named Zack Clement, who suffered a hernia whilst moving a refrigerator for Johnson’s Warehouse Showrooms (his employer). He did actually undergo surgery to correct the problem but the pain was still around. As a result he filed for a continuation of workers comp benefits. In the meantime he had posted numerous pictures of himself on a well-known social media website, ‘living it up’ with friends. The pictures show him drinking (and it has to be said, not much else). After posting these, someone had spotted them and duly tipped off his employer, who then suspended Mr Clement immediately.
In a court of law Mr Clement’s claim for reinstatement was denied by the judge. He then appealed, sighting the unfairness of the pictures as ‘real evidence’ that any fraud was committed. Upon review, the judge came to the conclusion that even though the pictures of the defendant drinking were in no way themselves conclusive proof that fraud had been committed, when the medical examinations were also taken into account (whereby an independent examiner found that there were no abnormalities and no real evidence of any pain) the judge deemed that the pictures, combined with the medical evidence, meant that combined evidence was conclusive enough to suggest that an act of fraud had taken place.
More and more employers are using social media platforms to spy (for want of a better word) on their employees. A good example of this is a Saturday worker who has called her employer to say that she is sick and therefore won’t be at work. Later on the employer gets wind of pictures that have been posted on the employee’s wall depicting her in a drunken state. The Employer could then be forgiven for thinking that the employee was suffering from the effects of alcohol rather than being genuinely ill. Whilst this isn’t substantive proof that the employee in question wasn’t actually sick it is easy to see how it can be taken that way. If on the other hand the employee had not posted anything, then to all intent and purpose, the employer mightn’t have been any the wiser.
A workers compensation lawyer explains that anyone who is going through the process of a disputed workers compensation claim could be forgiven for feeling angry and indeed upset, especially if it leaves them with financial issues through not being able to work. They could also be forgiven for posting derogatory comments about their employer or generally airing their feelings on their social media page. However any actions like this are likely to be picked up and used in evidence against the claimant, no matter even if they were said ‘tongue in cheek’.
This is the whole crux of the matter… even though we all sing for the protection of our rights and the right to privacy, putting yourself out there for the world and your employer to see is surely asking for trouble isn’t it?
If you need help and advice with a legitimate workers compensation claim that has been denied, then call upon the services of a team of experienced and highly skilled Los Angeles workers compensation lawyers who can help.