Using social media as evidence in a workers’ compensation case

Evidence taken from social media websites may be used to revoke or deny workers’ compensation benefits to recipients.

When Pennsylvania employees get hurt or injured on the job, they may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. Those who qualify for these benefits may receive money to help cover medical expenses, lost wages from time taken off work and any rehabilitation expenses that may occur as a result of the workplace injury. Yet when employees receiving workers' compensation benefits post information and images on social media that contradict their injury claim, they may be at risk of losing their benefits.

For example, an employee is receiving workers' compensation benefits for a serious back injury he or she received while on the job. The worker claims that he or she is unable to continue working due to the painful injury. However, pictures posted on a popular social media site show the injured worker actively dancing at a nightclub. If these posts are properly obtained, they may be used as evidence against the worker in court, and the workers' compensation benefits may be revoked.

Obtaining evidence through social media

Some people question whether or not information taken from social media sites is valid and admissible in court. According to Pace Law Review, there are several ways of obtaining evidence from a social media website. Since users can make their profile page visible to the general public or restrict the settings so that only friends are able to see their page, legal representatives may or may not be able to view pictures of the beneficiary.

If the profile is public, the information can be informally discovered. This is the same as simple observation, such as if someone were to see the person dancing or lifting a heavy object in public. Information that is not publically available, on the other hand, may be harder to obtain but is not off limits. The formal discovery process allows people to request documents that are associated with a legal case. This includes messages, videos and pictures posted on social media websites that are relevant to the beneficiary's workplace accident. In some cases, this evidence may be used to revoke or deny unemployment.

Partnering with an attorney

Applying for workers' compensation benefits or appealing a denial of benefits can be difficult to achieve on your own. Not only is there complicated paperwork involved, but documents that are not properly filled out may be rejected. This can make it even harder to obtain the workers' compensation benefits you need. An established attorney in Pennsylvania, who has a thorough knowledge of the state's workers' compensation laws, may be extremely helpful in walking you through the legal process. People who partner with an attorney often have an advantage when it comes to collecting benefits. A lawyer may ensure you meet all of the proper deadlines and have everything you need to receive your benefits.

Keywords: workers' compensation, social media