Bonezzi Switzer Polito & Hupp Co. L.P.A.
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Social media can strengthen your workers' compensation defense

In this social media age, it has become easier for individuals to post about daily activities, thoughts and feelings via social media outlets. Often, these posts, photos and videos become second nature to people, clicking "share" on their smart phones without a second thought. When those individuals are seeking workers' compensation, however, this can provide valuable evidence to you as an employer.

Using social media searches during workers' compensation claims can help to identify weaknesses in a claim, expose fraudulent activity and provide grounds for dispositive motions. As with any discovery, investigating through social media outlets should be done legally and ethically. For example, it is unethical for investigators to "follow" or "friend" a claimant through social media to get through privacy settings - particularly if it is done by creating fake accounts. The same applies to friends and family of the applicant who might post relevant information.

Anything a claimant posts publicly, however, is admissible as evidence. It is vital to find and preserve this evidence as soon as possible, as claimants may be instructed by their legal counsel to remove related posts. Posts, photos and videos can be preserved by saving the direct link or, even better, saving a screen shot. 

In addition to searching all popular social media feeds (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc) for the claimant, it also may be wise to expand your search to known relatives or friends. These individuals may not have been instructed to hide their feeds or delete posts, and they may share information that can be helpful for your defense.

 

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