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Social media in injury and workers' comp cases: use caution

Everyone is online these days, whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or some other form of social media. While social media has many positive benefits, it also has a downside. People who have been injured, either at work or by someone else's negligence, need to be very careful about their social media presence.

Anything you say can and will be used against you

While this warning is familiar to anyone who has ever watched a police drama on television, this warning also applies to people who are going through the personal injury or workers' compensation process. Insurance companies and employers may go online to look at your social media profiles and gain information about you. This is much more likely if you have been severely harmed and need significant compensation for your injuries.

For these reasons, it is important to avoid commenting on your injury online. There is simply too much risk that what you say could be used against you.

An example of how social media can hurt you

Let's look at an example: say you hurt your back in a car accident. Let's also say that a few months before the accident, you mention on Facebook that your back hurts. If the insurance company sees this, they may claim that you injured your back before the accident, and that you are not entitled to recover compensation for your injuries.

Can't I make my settings private?

You certainly can, and you certainly should. Some people may be unaware that the default setting for Facebook, Twitter and other social media apps allows the public to view posts or tweets. If you have been in an accident, you should change your settings to private. You should also refuse friend requests from people you don't know. These people could be affiliated with the insurance company.

Also watch out for pictures

You shouldn't post pictures of yourself online while you are injured. There is no advantage in doing this, and only potential disadvantage. If someone else posts pictures of you, ask them to remove them or untag yourself.

After an injury, your best bet would be to stay off social media entirely. If that isn't possible, you should check your settings, watch what you say and don't post pictures. You should also enlist the services of a skilled lawyer. The attorneys of Robinson Salyers help people in all types of personal injury and workers' compensation cases.

Social Media Tips for Personal Injury Victims During a Lawsuit, Findlaw.com, by Ephrat Livni, July 27, 2016

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