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How Social Media Use Can Endanger a Workers’ Comp Claim

A workers’ compensation claim can begin a complex and lengthy process. Especially when the injury is severe and involves high costs, an insurer’s claims adjusters will constantly search for ways to reduce their employers’ liability. Injured employees’ social media accounts are one way an insurer can investigate the merits of an employee’s claim. It’s important for the injured employee to keep their pending workers’ compensation claim in mind when they post to social media.

Insurers examine the merits of every claim

Bear in mind that an insurance adjuster’s job is to ensure that the insurer only pays for expenses that are rightfully covered under a policy. Adjusters are insurance experts. They know the cracks in a policy that might allow a claim to be partly or entirely denied. Adjusters therefore examine every claim to ensure that they tell an accurate story of the injury, its diagnosis, and how it is likely to be treated. Every insurer is vigilant against potential fraud. An employee who files a fraudulent claim will have the claim denied and may face other significant consequences, like a lost job and even criminal prosecution. Criminal fraud involves an intent to deceive the insurer, which may not be the case in many circumstances where an employee has made honest mistakes. But even an accusation of fraud can leave an injured employee without coverage.

Social media posts are a form of evidence

People who routinely use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter can easily forget that their posts can reach a wide audience. Even if a user studiously controls their privacy choices, for example by not allowing “public” access, social media posts can become the focus of legal disputes, including administrative conflicts over denied workers’ compensation claims. What once was “private” may lose its privacy protection as a consequence of obligations in discovery or a subpoena. Social media posts can also reach coworkers and managers. Do not discount the possibility that a manager could alert an HR department about a social media post that they believe raises concerns. Cases of true fraud—where an employee is caught posting pictures of herself running a marathon two days after claiming to have a broken leg—are more common than one might expect. But social media can create hazards for injured employees in more subtle ways. Anything that contradicts the facts included in claim documents could create doubts in the mind of an insurance adjuster. In the social media world, which places a certain premium on keeping up appearances, a photograph or casual comment could cast doubt on the severity of an employee’s injury.

Call the GGRM Law Firm for help with your workers' comp claim

For over 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped clients in the Las Vegas area pursue workers’ compensation claims. We offer free attorney consultations to new clients. To schedule an appointment call us today at 702-388-4476 or send us a request through our site.

Seeking Workers’ Compensation Coverage for Depression

Work-related depression is a problem that is hiding in plain sight. Whether resulting from the stress of the job, loneliness, or alienation, depression is an authentic and serious problem for working people. Evidence that employers are aware of this problem can be seen in the rise of employer-provided “help lines” that provide employees with no-cost, anonymous counseling services to address depression and other issues. When an employee suffers from depression that is linked to work, the employer’s workers’ compensation program may offer a source of financial assistance for treatment and recovery. Despite the well-understood link between the stresses of work and clinical depression, the employee who makes a workers’ compensation claim likely will need help making an effective case for coverage. Workers’ compensation programs often are designed to address relatively easily understood workplace injuries, like broken bones and strained ligaments. Mental health issues pose special challenges for insurers, who will look for ways to avoid financial responsibility for an employee’s treatment. The most likely argument that an insurer will make to deny coverage is that the illness was not work related. To be covered by workers’ compensation a disease must have arisen out of or in the course of employment. If the disease can be traced to a cause that is not work-related, coverage will not apply. A conventional injury, like carpal tunnel from a non-ergonomic desk layout, tends to have a clear causal link to the employee’s job. The claimant must be ready to show that depression was caused by the job. Proving the link between depression and work can involve several sources of evidence. An important one will be the employee’s mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist or counselor. An expert’s evaluation of the underlying sources of depression can be vitally important in cases where causes beyond work can have played a secondary role. Other sources of evidence might include other employees as well as confirmation from family and friends who have observed the ways that the employee’s work have affected his or her mood. Depression can result from ongoing stresses, but it can also be the consequence of a specific event. Here the case for workers’ compensation can be clearer. A worker who has seen a number of long-time colleagues laid off may experience specific emotional responses to those events. A worker who has suffered a physical injury at work may experience depression caused by medication or simply by a loss of mobility or career prospects. A workers’ compensation attorney works with clients to improve claims outcomes. For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped injured workers get the coverage they need to get back to full health after suffering an injury on the job. For a free attorney consultation, contact us at 702-388-4476 or through our contact page.