Yes, we know, we have published so many articles about the dangers of using social media while on workcover, but given the increasing number of injured workers we see involved with Facebook Groups, we feel it is necessary to re-highlight the real dangers of using social media with an active workcover claim. Did you know, for example, that how often you post or are active on social media can also be held against you!?
When you have suffered a workplace injury, you already have heaps of worries. The last thing that you need is to deal with is something affecting your workcover claim, or its potential settlement (eg lumpsum payout).
Social media posts have already been – legally – used as surveillance evidence in workcover claims. Don’t make the mistake of posting something you believe is innocent only to have that brought up in court or by the workcover insurer. Your workcover claim or other benefits and/or compensation payouts can really be affected by social media posts.
The legal case Digby v The Compass Institute Inc & Anor (2015) QSC308 is a good example of the use of social media evidence, and, what’s worse, the defence team (the insurance company/employer/defence lawyers) does not even need to inform the injured worker and/or his lawyer when they intend to use social media evidence!
In this legal case, it is mentioned that for example: ‘ Dr C said that the fact that she spent several hours a day perhaps two days a week socialising on Facebook was not consistent with the information she gave him about her social isolation….. (The injured worker was found guilty of exaggerating her injuries for financial gain.)
The best and easiest thing any injured worker can do is to quit social media completely while their workcover claim settles. Many lawyers will advise injured workers to close their social media accounts, for that reason. We recently also highlighted that using an alias or fake name for a social media account (eg Facebook) is not always sufficient to remain out of reach of workcover private investigators!
However, it is still possible to continue to be active on social media while on workcover but you need to be extremely vigilant about what you post.
Injured workers need to be extremely vigilant about what they post on social media
The following list are things injured workers should never ever post on social media sites while on workcover
- Remember at all times that not one conversation or comment is completely private on social media. Facebook accounts do get hacked (regularly) and sometimes when the platform updates it resets your privacy settings to public. You never ever know if anyone has taken a snapshot of your comment or conversation. So never consider anything you post completely safe (from prying eyes)
- Know that how often you post or are ‘active’ on social media can be used against you. It can be used to show that you are less disabled than what you claim! True!!!
- Photo or video evidence or written evidence (text/comment) of physical activity – like sports, jogging, swimming, carrying grocery bags, washing a car, putting the bins out, sweeping the driveway etc. should never be posted. Even simply commenting about an activity, however small, can be held against you. Workcover insurer surveillance will be very quick at taking things out of context and alleging that you are faking your injury/illness.
- Never ever post anything that may look like it contradicts your level of claimed pain. For example, if you tell your doctor that you need a walking stick, and you post a picture of yourself without one, this single picture can damage your claim
- Never ever discuss comment or write about your workcover claim, including legal aspects of it such as liability and comments on legal advice or progress of your workcover claim. Never write anything about any strategy proposed by your lawyer
- Carefully consider every single social media post to ensure it can never be used against you in court (or elsewhere). This includes anything, however small that may be seen as ‘contradicting’ your workcover claim. Always assume that your workcover insurance company is using surveillance on you and your social media posts.
- Never ever ‘check-in’ (Google maps) or give away your current or intended location(s). Revealing this information on social media can make it much easier for the workcover insurer surveillance team to track you. The places where you are posting from on social media can also affect your workcover claim. For example, if your claim that you are socially isolated because of psychological injury, the locations of your posts can be used against you!
- Be very careful and vigilant about what your social media friends are posting. Even if you are very careful with your own social media posts, some information can be used against you from your friends’ posts. Ensure you warn your friends and family what not to post. Then check frequently to make sure nothing potentially damaging is posted on social media without your knowledge. This could be a picture taken of you by friends or family, or a comment of how much fun your friend had with you etc.
- If you have a psychological injury and/or a psychological aspect is part of your workcover claim (eg. secondary depression) be extra careful what you post. Most people prefer to show themselves ‘good’ and ‘happy’ on their social media pages/posts. So, if you suffer from depression or other psychological issues as part of your workers’ comp claim, than this can also damage your case
- Please control at all times what you are posting on social media. Where you are posting from, how often you are posting or ‘active’ on social media, or what you are posting, commenting or even ‘ liking’.
It is indeed very hard for injured workers to have to constantly watch your steps, literally and virtually. It is unfair, and yet, it is a must.