- Don’t post comments that could harm your claim or your credibility
The actual facts of your case are crucial, so don’t muddle them up with a post. A client of mine recently posted on Facebook that she had fallen while riding her horse. She was already making a claim for a shoulder injury that occurred at work when she fell off the horse. In the horse incident, she bruised her hand on the other side of her body from the shoulder injury, and did not hurt her shoulder. The insurance adjuster sent her for an IME with a doctor to check out her shoulder, and told the doctor that the woman had fallen off her horse. The doctor concluded that she hurt her shoulder falling off the horse, not at work, even though he had no evidence to support this notion except for her Facebook post that she had fallen off her horse. This IME report has now complicated her case a great deal.
- Don’t post photos on social media that could harm your claim or your credibility
Your credibility as a witness is extremely important in a workers’ comp case. A couple years ago a client of mine who was claiming a disabling back injury had a photo on his Facebook page of himself jumping off a picnic table, jumping up and over his girlfriend’s head, as she was standing on the ground at the end of the picnic table. The photo was undated. It was posted AFTER he got hurt at work. We had to track down the friend who had snapped the photo to try to get the digital photo EXIF data to show that the photo was taken BEFORE he got hurt at work. The insurance company claimed that the photo was taken after he got hurt, and that it proved he was not hurt as badly as he claimed. The only way to defeat that bogus defense was to find the friend who took the photo and get the proof of exactly when the photo was taken.
- Don’t let your friends or family post things on their pages that could hurt your case or your credibility
You can keep your own page clean but if your social media friends are posting stuff on their pages that can hurt your claim, then the fact that it is not on your page is not really a defense. Pictures in particular are very compelling and persuasive. So try to monitor what your friends are posting about you, and ask them immediately to take down anything that may harm your claim or your credibility. A “tagged photo” can cost you a lot of money–A client with a knee injury once allowed the defense to find out he had been to the beach, playing touch football, the weekend before his mediated settlement conference. This tidbit of information cost him a lot of money in his settlement. If you are not sure about a post or photo, consult with a workers’ comp lawyer about it.
The Bollinger Law Firm, PC, is based in Charlotte, but takes workers’ compensation cases across North Carolina. Founded in 1999, the firm has a strong reputation as a law firm of advocates for injured and disabled people.