Social media has become incredibly popular. Facebook has anywhere from 889.3 million to 1.11 billion monthly active users. Twitter has nearly 555 million active, registered users. Chances are good that you are using some form of social media.
If you are seeking, or currently collecting, workers compensation benefits, or involved in a personal injury claim, be aware that may be more than just friends and relatives looking at your posts. Social media has become an important tool used by investigators hired by insurance companies to find out if claimants are involved in fraud.
In an article on the William Mitchell College of Law website, professor Gregory Duhl and adjunct professor (and Liberty Mutual attorney) Jaclyn Millner write:
Often, Facebook evidence will substantiate some other evidence found in an investigation, such as a statement from a co-worker or witness, surveillance such as video, or medical records indicating the claimant is not injured or was injured by other than the stated cause, or pictures showing the property is not damaged. However, it is possible that the only information found to show insurance fraud would be the social networking evidence itself.
For example, investigators recently discovered insurance fraud through a Facebook investigation in New York. In the Muniz case, a woman receiving workers’ compensation benefits testified at a hearing that she was unemployed. Investigators subsequently uncovered a Facebook posting in which the woman discussed her salary, indicating that she was, in fact, employed. The woman was sentenced to three years of probation for felony grand larceny and fraud, and was also ordered to pay restitution.
You need to be careful when using social media. As much as you may want family and friends to know how you’re doing, you may also be updating insurance companies, and their investigators, as well.
If you have any questions about workers compensation or personal injury law, please contact our office. We can help.