For many of us, online social media has become an integral part of our daily lives. Vacations, fancy dinners, and everyday activities are all chronicled for our friends and followers to enjoy. Sharing pictures and personal details has become a hallmark of the social media experience. Yet despite customizable settings on popular social networking sites like Facebook, concerns about the privacy of posted material have continued to persist, with users wary of third-party advertisers, admissions officers, and employers alike having access to their profile’s information. Now, recent rulings in Pennsylvania workers’ compensation cases could add forensic computer experts to that list.
An emerging trend in Pennsylvania workers’ compensation claims has involved courts generally granting limited discovery requests for access to claimants’ Facebook pages where certain public postings on these accounts suggest that more private posts might be relevant to the contested issues in specific cases. However, this access is normally only allowed after a showing of facts which suggest that the discovery of the claimant’s private profile will yield information relevant to the case. Without this, such discovery is not likely to be permitted.
Nevertheless, in light of these recent decisions, injured workers in Pennsylvania need be aware of what is being posted on their accounts on Facebook and other social media sites, ensuring that their personal profiles are free of material that could damage their workers’ compensation claims. If you’re unsure of what constitutes such material, or if you have any questions regarding social media and workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania. Contact our Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorneys. To be sure, the ever-increasing prominence of online social networking in today’s world promises that social media will continue to impact workers’ compensation litigation in the days to come.