Nearly everyone has at least one social media account nowadays, regardless of their age. They post about their lives, so friends and family can receive updates in real-time. Opinions about social media vary significantly, but there is one issue that remains the same across the board: Individuals must be careful what they post.
That warning is even more important for employees after they suffer a work injury and have an open workers’ compensation claim.
It might be tempting to post, but it could be harmful
Suffering a work injury is often a traumatic and significant event that can impact one’s life and relationships. It is usually these kinds of events that people tend to post about on social media to:
- Update loved ones about their condition and recovery
- Vent frustrations about the injury, claim process or even their workplace
- Perhaps even warn other employees to protect themselves from similar injuries
These employees often post with good intentions. However, a post they believe to be harmless could potentially affect their workers’ compensation claim.
Why is posting risky?
Many people warn that employers will review a candidate’s social media before hiring them. Nowadays, it is common for insurance companies to do the same after an employee files a workers’ compensation claim.
Insurance companies often look for particular types of posts, such as:
- Posts made immediately after the employee reported the accident
- Pictures of individuals participating in sports or physical activities after they claim an injury
- Personal accounts of the work injury and how they are recovering
- Previous complaints about the employer or workplace
The Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission and insurers can investigate any claim. And social media accounts usually provide easy access to evidence (Maryland Code, Labor and Employment § 9-715).
Social media posts like the ones listed above could be self-incriminating, and Maryland law permits that kind of evidence in these cases. If a post raises the insurer’s suspicion, it might even provide the insurer grounds to deny the claim or suspect fraud (Maryland Code, Labor and Employment § 9-716).
Be careful what you post
There is clear evidence of how posting on social media can impact someone’s personal injury case, and the same consequences exist for someone’s workers’ compensation claim.
Having an open workers’ compensation claim does not mean individuals should avoid posting on social media altogether. But they must take greater care about when they post, as well as what they post about.