Let’s be clear…I don’t think any injured worker has ever won his or her case in court by posting on Facebook. Okay, let me be extra clear on this point: what you say on Facebook will definitely help you LOSE your case. You can see that from the cases in the Worker’s Compensation Court. In one case, the injured worker claimed that her supervisor had directed her to run the obstacle course at a volunteer event (her injury occurred during the course), but the judge read her Facebook post and thought otherwise:
However, Stephens’ claim that O’Banion directed her and Elliot to run the obstacle course is inconsistent with a Facebook post she made the day after her injury…
–Stephens v. MACO Work Comp Trust, 2016 MTWCC 16
Read the entire case HERE.
The Court then went on to quote the Facebook post and ultimately did not believe she was telling the truth about her conversation with her supervisor.
When cases are heading to court, insurance companies routinely ask for online handles for social media accounts. Adjusters frequently scan all social media platforms looking for pictures. Pictures of you posing with that trophy kill from hunting season, riding dirt bikes, or showing off that pile of wood you cut…all so that they can ask you questions or share that information with your doctor.
Sometimes, social media posts alert the adjuster or fraud investigators to events where you may be attending. Maybe you’re not planning on having a big night or are not even going to participate in the event. It doesn’t matter- it opens the door to your life for adjusters and investigators to peek into your life when you are not necessarily aware.
So, if you are on total disability or restricted, it’s not the best idea to advertise your debut in the local mixed martial arts night later that week. A work comp fraud investigator may show up and film your MMA bout (a loss), and film you celebrate your debut with your buddies – all without looking like you are disabled in the least. (And yes, that’s an actual claim!).
Some good tips:
Don’t post anything to social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, or Instagram while you have an active clam. You should also change your privacy settings. By picking the highest privacy level setting, the Court may find that you had an expectation of privacy with regard to the information on your page. Even then, the Court might still make you provide that information if requested while your case is in Workers’ Compensation Court. The Court may still make you provide that information as they did in T.B. v. Montana State Fund. So why do it? It may prevent an adjuster from seeing your content at the early stages of the claim.
Don’t accept friends you don’t know.
What if you have already posted something?
Don’t delete it. It could look like you are trying to destroy evidence. But you can change your settings to private.
Don’t use a company phone to call or text your attorney or discuss your injury on those devices. It’s not your phone – it belongs to the employer and they can often access it legally.
Similarly, don’t use a laptop or computer provided by your employer to communicate information about your injury. If you have a work email account, set up a private email account on another computer or phone to communicate about your injury.
While people are addicted to social media and it can be wildly entertaining, it is no place to discuss your workers’ compensation injury or claim. Insurers have sophisticated investigatory methods and are actively searching for your social media posts.
You can learn more about the Montana workers’ compensation system by downloading our book, Hurt at Work: An Insider’s Guide to Understanding your Montana Work Comp Claim” by going to the main page of our website: https://mtworkcomplawyer.com. The book is FREE and if you don’t want to download it, just call us at 888.779-1898 or drop us a text at 866-406-2667 and we’ll mail you the book.
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