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Brian, Zwick, Stone & Associates
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Filing a workers' comp claim? Watch your Facebook status

Like many in Ohio and throughout the world, you may be a regular user of social media. Perhaps you check for notifications and update your status before you even get out of bed, during your breaks at work and as soon as you get off work.

This is the modern way to stay connected, and it has its benefits. However, if you are in the middle of a workers' compensation claim, it may be wise to curb your social media presence. Some employees are finding that employers and insurers are using workers' posts on Facebook and other sites as evidence to deny claims for workers' compensation.

Understanding workers' comp insurance

If you are hurt on the job, your employer's insurance policy covers your medical bills related to your injury, lost pay while you recover and certain other benefits. Because the law requires most Ohio employers to offer this benefit, you can imagine how prevalent fraud is in the workers' compensation system. In fact, about 10% of claims are fraudulent, costing insurers billions of dollars.

Insurers are aware that some employees may try to defraud the system by claiming injuries they do not have, so they investigate each claim. This may include looking at social media accounts for evidence that a claimant is not really hurt or ill.

Your claim and your status

Even if your settings are private, investigators have ways of seeing what you post. What will insurance investigators see when they look at your Facebook page or other social media accounts? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have pictures of yourself playing basketball, dancing at a wedding or giving your kids piggyback rides after filing a claim for a back injury?
  • Have you changed your status to chronicle the home improvement projects you are tackling during your time off?
  • Are you taking a vacation during the time when you are supposed to be home recovering?
  • Can an investigator interpret anything you have posted to mean you are intentionally exaggerating or fabricating your injuries, even some comment you made in all innocence?

Any of these and other factors may find you facing a long recovery with no financial benefits from your employer. While it is always wise to use restraint when on social media, during a workers' comp claim, you may need to be even more careful. You can obtain more advice about dealing with the claims process or an unfair denial of your claim by reaching out to a skilled attorney.

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