Recently, a local high school football player was suspended for several games for being at a party where alcohol was served. The school found out through multiple online postings, including photographs showing this athlete at the party. The athlete did not post them, rather he was in the background of another students post. Similar things are happening in Redding with the Workers Compensation claims.
Society has become over run with up-to-the-minute, play-by-play of one's entire life. Privacy is a thing of the past.
Long gone are the days of cameras requiring film, which would take days to be developed, before you could share by showing your friends, in person. Everyone now carries a camera on their phone. A picture can be taken and uploaded to the internet in seconds. Once there, it is very difficult to remove this picture. Even when the picture isn't yours, you can be "tagged" in someone else’s picture, often to disastrous results. Just ask the high school football picture above.
In a recent Redding Workers Compensation claim, the applicant had been tagged in her friends picture. This pictures were then brought by the defense attorney to the applicant’s deposition. The applicant had to answer and discuss these pictures. When we were finished, the applicant look at me and said, “these weren’t even my pictures, how can they use them against me?” The unfortunate answer is, you are in the picture and are tagged on your social media account.
Pictures are only the beginning. Everything from posts, updates, and shares have been used to poke holes in the creditability of applicants. Defense attorneys will use whatever they can find. Another example is a defense attorney who cut off temporary disability, and asserted a credit because the applicant had updated his employer section of his social media page. This update wasn’t even accurate, however the defense was able to argue if he put it up it was either accurate or the applicant had credibility issues.
So, what can you do?
Delete your profile/ stop using social media for the duration of your claim. Yes, this is the most extreme however this is the best option. However, if you can’t do this, see the below:
Change your settings on your media page to private. This can eliminate much of what is seen by someone just pulling up your name.
Talk to your friends and ask them not to take/ tag you in photos.
Don’t post about activities you’re doing/ trips your taking. This opens the door to questions about those trips.
Don’t update your profile with information about where you work, when you worked there, or what you’re doing now.
Make sure what you are posting reflects what you are capable of doing. If you post pictures of your recent motorcycle trip across the country, don’t tell us you can’t sit for more than 20 minutes. Its not believable.
Ultimately, we live in a different world than 10 or 15 yrs ago. Everything has changed! No longer can you expect privacy. You expect the opposite. We have gotten comfortable with positing our every thought, expression, and experience so the world can see. That is fine, however, for the duration of your workers compensation claim, stay off of social media and take down your pages.
You don't want your story to be the next cautionary tale.