Did you know that the success of your work injury case also depends on your credibility. That is: that you are honest, are being trusted and believed in, in what you say and…do. This is especially true when you have an injury that is not (very) visible to the naked eye; for example a heart condition, a psychological injury, and even a back injury. So what you say and do, and whether you are believed is extremely important as this can make you win or loose your case.
Workcover et al may Google YOU too!
Because of the way workcover insurances operate, all the focus, dare I say, is on money, and not on your wellbeing. As there is a lot of $$$ to loose, Workcover and it’s lawyers ( = the side defending a case an injured worker makes) will always be searching for ANY information about YOU that will give them an upper hand. They will do just about anything to dig up information about you, preferably any information that is “inconsistent” with what you have previously said, stated, written or done. The more ïnconsistencies”they can find, the better for them.
They will look through your social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc) and also literally Google you (your name) to find that “inconsistemt” information about you, against you. So if you Google yourself, rest assured that the other side (workcover et al.) has already all the information on you that you can find yourself!
Not long ago, a personal injury lawyer told me that, as a matter of thoroughness, they will always Google an injured worker when preparing a workcover case. They do this to ensure there is nothing important missed, something an injured worker may have forgotten to tell their lawyer or may have not realised that it may be very important.
Injured workers who, for example, are active or were active in clubs, sports etc may have their results posted online, which are visible to the public (and searchable by Workcover et al). This could be playing pool, being involved in rodeo, whatever.
So the best thing you can do is tell your lawyer everything that could possibly be of importance to your personal injury case. You must always assume that what you have been doing / are doing is known by workcover. Don’t be afraid to tell your lawyer anything, the information you give your lawyer is privileged and is considered private, so do not hide anything.
The same applies for all your internet activities, be it on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc. What you do or say on Facebook, for example, can be very damning even if you are not posting pictures or messages yourself. It is easy for your friends, for all “friends” (people) you have to just TAG you or a picture of YOU on their Facebook. For example, they can post a picture of you with a big smile in a group showing you went on a recent fishing trip, which in turn can be held against you in your case.
If your case goes to court, injured workers are often cross-examined at length and a lot focusses on social media posting / activity of the injured worker. So, please (and again) take our advice: close your Social Media down (until your case is over), or at the very least heavily restrict who can see what you post and be extremely wary about posting anything that can be taken out of context. There is no worse feeling than having your personal pictures, words and even your thoughts analysed by workcover’s defense lawyers! It’s not the first time we hear that an injured worker is accused of faking a mental injury because they were “smiling at the beach”, “how can you be depressed?”, “how can you state you no longer feel like socialising because of … and here you are at the beach with a bunch of friends!”.
Googling you, like covert surveillance, can be extremely damaging to your case, particularly when it shows you doing something that you shouldn’t be doing or that you have not told them. For example, let’s say you may have a back injury which medically restricts how much you can move or lift. Let’s say, after x months on workcover you are financially broke, could no longer keep up with the rent and had to move to a cheaper place. But because you could not possibly afford a removalist service to move house, you moved/lifted some heavy items yourself. And a picture of you pops up moving some heavy stuff, bang, you are done. However, if you had to do something like that, and for example suffered an increase of pain afterwards, and you told your doctor, and you told your lawyer then you may have a chance to explain your action “away”.
Another example would be if you suffer for example severe PTSD from a truck accident and claim you can no longer drive, but you needed to go all the way to X to pick up you elderly and ill mother as an emergency and drove a fair distance, took a friend or spouse along (for your anxiety) and medicated yourself as per doctor’s orders (anti-anxiety medication), had a major panic attack on the way and severe flashbacks during and after your drive. If workcover took surveillance footage of you, or your friend posted a picture of you driving, your case may be jeopardised. However, if you told your doctor and lawyer that you did this because you really had no alternative option, then your lawyer can help you out as you disclosed that.