According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, workers’ compensation costs related to matters of insurance fraud are estimated at $7.2 billion a year. Due to this statistic, insurance companies continuously seek to implement strategies that prevent the success of workers’ compensation fraud. Today, one of the most effective tools insurance companies use in workers’ comp investigations is social media.
Have you experienced a serious injury on the job? At Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Wright Co. LPA, we have decades of combined experience fighting for injured Ohio workers to obtain the compensation they deserve.
Using Social Media to Investigate
Insurance companies and lawyers invest a significant amount of time researching individuals who have filed workplace injury claims. In the process of these workers’ comp investigations, these companies and attorneys perform extensive internet searches that include the evaluation of social media communications that often provide a wealth of material on these claimants.
The information retrieved from these searches often includes photos indicating the appearance of the injured worker, the type of vehicle the injured worker drives, physical exercise the injured worker participates in, the ability of the injured worker to travel, and whether the injured worker drinks alcohol or smokes cigarettes. Insurance professionals tasked with these investigations can spend hours evaluating social media posts that help establish evidence as to the validity of a particular workers’ comp claim.
Some of the additional pieces of information workers’ comp investigations can gather and confirm through the evaluation of social media include:
- Policy application information
- Disability status
- Facts of loss
- Location of witnesses
Additionally, certain photos on social media sites may include data that indicate the individual’s location at the time of the photo.
It is estimated that roughly 80% adults have a presence on one or more social media platforms. Many people who use social media on a regular basis have grown accustomed to advertising their activities to their friends, family, and sometimes the general public, that it is somewhat of an ingrained behavior. People love to share where they are and what they’re doing. Even when lawyers inform injured workers to stay off social media, they don’t always comply.
As such, workers’ comp investigations can take advantage of a rich landscape of potential evidence to help understand and forecast the future activities of those claiming an on-the-job injury.
The information gathered from such investigations delving into social media accounts can sometimes give investigators the keys they need to set up effective video surveillance. Such surveillance can have greater credibility in court due to its timestamp. A photo of an injured worker performing an activity, on the other hand, may or may not have been taken before the injury occurred.
Social Media Evidence and the Courts
Generally, the courts have ruled that social media information derived from workers’ comp investigations is admissible as discoverable evidence if it is likely to lead to the discovery of information impacting the validity of the workers’ comp claim. Courts have also consistently held that injured workers do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy with respect to content shared on social media sites, even if that content is shared with a small, limited group of family members or friends.
Thus, pictures or videos posted on social media demonstrating that a workers’ comp claimant is not injured or disabled, may be admissible as evidence by a judge. Such evidence can potentially end the individual’s claim.
Vigorous Representation for Your Ohio Workers’ Comp Claim
You may have questions as to how to move forward with your claim if you have suffered a workplace injury. Filing a workers’ compensation claim can be a complex endeavor. At Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Wright Co. LPA, we handle every case in a compassionate, yet zealous manner to help fight on your behalf for the fair compensation you are owed.