Social media has made us more . . . well, social. It’s fun to share our thoughts on Facebook and Twitter, our photos on Instagram and Flickr, our videos on YouTube and Vine. We follow our favorite blogs on Tumblr, create our own boards on Pinterest and do a little job networking on LinkedIn.
When you’re involved in a worker’s compensation claim or any type of legal action, however, what you do online can have consequences in court. If you’re in the midst of an injury or disability claim, what you post online (not just status updates but photos and other content) can be harmful if you don’t use them wisely—or at least keep them private.
Any social media site, website or online community that posts personal information can play a role in various types of legal proceedings. Hearing officers on injury and disability claims can and will use all of the information available to them to make a determination on your claim.
Here are a few tips to keep your social profiles from affecting your claim:
- Be honest. If you are claiming that you cannot work due to an injury or illness, posting your most recent golf score on Facebook is not a good idea.
- Be private. Go to a website’s settings and select the privacy level that only allows friends to see your information. Know that this isn’t foolproof and that “friends” can forward and share what you deem private.
- Be cautious when accepting friend requests. Be sure that you know the individual that you are friending and that they would have your best interests in mind regarding anything you might post.
The bottom line is this: If you don’t want others to know about what you’re sharing, don’t hit the “post” button. It’s better to be safe now than sorry later.
A native of Youngstown, Ohio, Richard L. “Pete” Magill worked in mills during the summer to help finance his education. He went on to earn his undergraduate degree from The Ohio State University and his law degree from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, where he was a member of the Law Journal and graduate cum laude. Throughout more than three decades as a lawyer, he has dedicated his practice to helping injured workers. Several of his cases have resulted in appellate court decisions that have helped to change Ohio law in ways that benefit the state’s workers as a whole. In addition to his practice, he is a member of the Ohio State Bar Association’s Workers’ Compensation Committee and also the liaison committee between the Bar Association and the Industrial Commission.