Facebook can ruin your workcover claim and show you can work

no-facebook

If you are an injured worker with a (potential) serious injury application and/or a common law damages claim with a Facebook account, you really need to read this article. No matter what privacy settings you use on Facebook, you must assume that everything you post will be viewed by the workcover insurer defense lawyers. And, what’s worse, your Facebooking can also be used to demonstrate your ability to undertake an office, or computer based job!

The best thing you can do for your claim is to really stop using Facebook completely from the time of your accident through the conclusion of your claim. If you don’t, you should at least know how your postings will be used against you so you can limit their negative impact on your claim.

Facebook can ruin your workcover claim

How can my Facebook account damage my workcover claim?

PICTURES

Well, let’s just start with any pictures you’ve posted online. People, including injured workers prefer not to post pictures of themselves doing nothing, or of them recovering from surgery on the couch or in bed. Understandably they’ll post pictures of themselves on holiday, or outdoors, or at some party or other social event(s). So if you are claiming a shoulder injury, but have posted pictures on Facebook of yourself after your accident dancing or hugging a friend, how do you think that will look to a judge or a jury? Yeah right:“you were having a rare good day when your pain was not as bad as usual,” or “Yes, I did that, but I was in bed with pain for an entire week afterwards.” Do you really think a jury or a judge will believe these excuses?

If you are litigating your workcover claim (which may involve applying for serious injury certificate) you should not post any pictures of yourself doing anything period. If you post personal pictures on Facebook, you can be sure that workcover defense will get them.

LIST OF ALL YOUR FRIENDS

If you have a Facebook account you are also effectively sharing an unfiltered list of your friends to the workcover defense — friends who also have Facebook accounts which may even contain photos of you (some of which you may not even seen). Have you de-friended someone? Who better to contact for information that could hurt your case than a former friend?

BITCHING

Do you write not so flattering comments on Facebook? Have you bitched about your job, your (former) employer, boss, supervisor? Have you bitched about your own lawyer? These things are also discoverable by the Defense, who may have reservation about mentioning these embarrassing comments to potentially offended parties! Do you really think having an angry boss or an lawyer won’t damage your case?

HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU SPEND ON FACEBOOK?

You probably haven’t thought about how much time you spend on Facebook (or other social networking sites).

If you are claiming an injury that prevents you from doing even a sedentary job, it won’t look good for your case if you’re on Facebook 8 hours a day.

The Defense will really argue that you are clearly capable of working in an office – because you can clearly write long comments/entries on your Facebook page, and 8 hours per day?! The same applies to anyone running a blog or a website! It is not the first time that genuinely injured workers have had their common law damages claims heavily reduced because of their time spent on social media!

To reinforce this very serious issue we’re using a recent injured worker’s pretty alarming letter from his solicitor (lawyer) regarding his Facebook page. The excerpt reads:

I am concerned that it [your Facebook] may become an issue during your claim for economical loss.  For example, our opponents may use extracts from your Facebook, or direct correspondence to the Defendant or [your insurance company] to demonstrate your ability to undertake an office, or computer based job…..

OVER-SHARING

There is no doubt that, for a lot of people, social networking has created a new way of sharing of information . However, beware that there is such a thing as over-sharing — especially when you are an injured worker.

Do not ever put anything on Facebook (and/or other social networking sites) that you would not happily hand over to your workcover insurance defense lawyers — because that is exactly what you will be doing (and yep, maybe not so happily).


 Workcover and writing complaint letters

Please be also aware that Workcover insurers have been known to use letters of complaint written by injured workers against them….
showing them to doctors and asking them to give an opinion that if they can write letters can they do an office job… :o


 



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7 Responses to “Facebook can ruin your workcover claim and show you can work”

  1. I’m happy to share my facebook pages with workcover, employer, insurer etc! Cheers!

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  2. I am quite careful what I share because I know how Insurers can twist things and take things out of context, I’ve seen it many times with IME reports where they will take a few words from a sentence and use it to deny a claim; if they could take single words or letters to make a new sentence like the ransom notes in movies where the letters are cut out of printed media and glued to a blank page making up a sentence they would do so.
    I recently had this done to me with IME reports, so when you think to yourself this must be bordering on fraud and they wouldn’t do such a thing well think again!
    Be careful with social media as they can use this to almost track your movements, next time you decide to ‘check in’ they may just have someone close by who is able to come and take a closer look to see if you laugh, smile or look happy. Most people would think nah they wouldn’t do that or have the time, think again.

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    • Yes Jo, they can, will, and do twist everything. But that’s why we have courts. Injured workers must STOP fearing these fools. Injured workers must come out, and identify your self on these sites. Judges are not fools and they know insurers have got a lot to gain from making you look bad. At arbitration, my solicitor told me, she didn’t think they would cross examine me. Hell, I told her I was happy to be cross examined – it didn’t happen. But if it did, I was ready to give it to them.

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      • @Jo and @Just Me – I fully agree with you Jo. From my (and our) own experiences no matter how genuine you are, no matter how badly you are injured, no matter all the evidence in your favour, when it comes to insurers and their defense lawyers, they will stoop to the lowest of levels to find anything that can be held against you. It’s all about money at the end of the day (mitigating their losses). Taking things out of context is certainly a number 1 when it comes to social media (whether a sentence or a picture, hell even a ‘like); but make no mistake as they will really use your ‘ability’ to Facebook, Twitter and what-not as an ability/capability to work! It’s happened to some of us (AWCVD), they tried very hard to say the authors could ‘work’ as they can ‘blog’, or worse, that they could earn an income by running this site (heloooo?). The problem is that the insurer (and defense) are the DISHONEST parties involved in your claim, we all know how many IMEs lie, how rehabbers lie, how everybody tries their hardest to undermine you in return for money. That is the very reason why we stand fast on staying off Facebook, and want you to hide your true identity on sites like AWCVD.

        For those who Still don’t believe it is dangerous to participate in social media:

        An injured worker was accused of all sorts by simply ‘liking’ an article by the injured workers support network!!!

        Evidence: Someone Likes Something?

        What do you think happens when you “like” a Facebook page? What about an article? Can any medical professional use that as an indication that you are getting better? Or worse? Or anything at all except that you felt some resonance to the article or page?

        Well, apparently insurers think they can.

        The other day I received a disturbing message from a member saying that their lawyer had received the surveillance information on our member. Imbedded in that was a screen shot of the Injured Workers Support Network’s Facebook page In particular an article that our member clicked like.

        No stop laughing. The insurer paid a private detective to screen our Facebook page in the hope of finding “incriminating evidence” (would love to see the invoice for that one).

        Now, I know I’m a good writer. I know I’m inspirational and that I have much to offer the world if only everyone would pay attention and read every single piece of writing (and I know self-effacing humour doesn’t translate well to print). But (and its a big But) I know from a long association with the health and healing profession that just reading an article is not going to miraculously heal anyone.

        I put articles on this site to provide general advice, to encourage, to agitate and most of all, to inform. Just looking at our website or Facebook page is no indication of health or of illness (I can’t believe I just wrote that but it appears from this insurers are truly idiots).

        To reiterate. Our website, our Facebook page and even our Twitter or videos are meant to encourage the healing process and assist our members to become informed consumers (victims?) of the Workers Compensation Process.

        So- and this is to any two bit spy on me the payroll of the insurance company. The IWSN is a part of our members recovery from injury, it is proof of their determination to overcome an injury.

        ——————————
        Get the gist? It’s not YOU, it’s THEM!

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  3. Yes, I do get what you’re saying workcovervictim3. But I’d like to see them use my facebook page against me in a court. I can sit behind a desk for a while now, but at the time of injury I couldn’t sit for long at all, so I couldn’t do my job, and if I went back to that same industry, it’s highly likely I’d suffer re-injury. So it’s best for me to find a different job in a different industry. I’d like to hear them argue against that in a court. As far a fabricating anything against me, well that would truly bring them down.

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  4. My husband and I both use my Facebook account, it is up to the Insurance companies to prove who said what. I would however advise any newly injured worker who is not familiar with how nasty insurance companies can be to tread carefully on social media. Always have your settings on Friends only and check all friend’s requests carefully. Never mention your daily routine, speak in the past tense and post innocuous stuff like cats, affirmations, the occasional political statement and humour. It is pathetic that this kind of stuff can be used against you, but realise that when they set you free, you can have a field day telling the public what a rotten system this is.

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  5. This is very true. A patient was in court when the insurer’s legal team presented photos taken from her adult son’s Facebook. She was seated at the Christmas table and smiling with her family around her.
    This was meant to infer that she wasn’t as miserable with severe pain as reported. In truth, she told me she was almost grimacing from pain but wanted her family to be enjoying the occasion.
    These photos had the possibly intended effect of making her breakdown in court as she was so shocked and dismayed to realise to what lengths the insurer would go to.

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