Can social media hurt my workers’ compensation claim?
Clients must be mindful of what they post on their social media accounts. The information posted on social media sites is not always private or privileged. Pictures and comments can be taken out of context and turn a perfectly fine situation on its head. Even when you set your settings to private, photos that you are tagged in may be visible publicly. Of course, it is encouraged that you not post anything about your case on your social media accounts.
Is my private information really private?
Despite customizable settings on popular social networking sites, concerns about the privacy of posted material have continued to persist, with users wary of third-party advertisers and employers having access to their profile’s information. Now, recent rulings in Pennsylvania workers’ compensation cases could potentially 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 when 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 suggesting that access to the claimant’s private profile will yield information relevant to the case. Without this, such discovery will not likely be permitted.
How can you ensure total privacy?
Nevertheless, in light of these recent decisions, injured workers in Pennsylvania need to be aware of what is posted on their 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, contact a workers’ compensation attorney. 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.