Social networking sites: A warning to all injured workers
Many decent lawyers will tell their clients (injured workers) to either close their public social networking account(s) such as FaceBook, MySpace, YouTube, Twitter, Forum, Google Buzz , etc., or if they use them, to do so with great caution until the injured worker’s case is completely over.
Whatever you write or post, or have written or posted on your Facebook page, forums, message boards, can fall into the hands of the defense lawyers (=lawyers who work for the workcover authority/insurance) or [workcover] insurance company.
It is now standard practice for them to run computer searches and investigations to obtain information about your personal life. They will try to obtain it without your knowledge or permission.
If you have a site such as Facebook or if you participate on other social media sites, you should only write or post items that cannot be used to hurt you.
There is an increase in electronic surveillance of these types of accounts and sites by [workcover] insurance companies, investigators, and defense lawyers.
They hope to discover information to embarrass, humiliate or hurt you. They will look for pictures or comments by you or your friends that they can take out of context to prove that your injury is exaggerated or false.
We have heard that innocent, harmless joking between private “Friends,” (i.e on Facebook and forums) used and distorted by [workcover] insurance companies to try to convince a judge and jury that an injured worker is dishonest.
But your case, especially if litigation is involved, is extremely important for you. In order to protect you(rself) fully please follow our warnings and instructions.
Specific recommendations, warnings and instructions:
When commenting on our site (or like minded sites), and especially if you are undertaking any form of legal proceedings:
- Please use a nickname and not your real name
- Please use an alias email (set up for the purpose, i.e. Yahoo, Hotmail etc) and not your personal email. Or use a fake email (i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Write your comments or questions in such a way that you can not be identified in the real world (i.e change gender, use third party person such as ‘my friend has a problem…). Don’t write details of your case, including specifics of injury, names of doctors, dates of hearings/appointments etc. Don’t share your phone number, address etc. (If you want to get in touch with a fellow injured worker, we can connect you in a safe way)
- Do not allow anyone to become a “friend” on a website like Facebook (or forum) unless you are absolutely sure you know that person.
- Do not post any photographs or video of yourself (or enable others to “tag” you)
- Do not write or disclose anything about your personal life that you would be embarrassed to have a defense lawyer use against you in front of a judge and/or jury
- Do not send e-mails regarding details of your case to anyone except your lawyer(s)
- Do not send texts regarding your case to anyone except your lawyer(s)
- Do not enter (workcover) insurance websites
- Do not participate in forums, chat-rooms, or message boards
Remember at all times “I must not post anything that may be used against me.”