Workers' compensation: Social media as evidence

Social media has become a daily ritual. People post their political views, upload photos of their vacations, brag about their accomplishments, share videos of their pets and even admit to wrongdoings. However, if people are injured on the job in Prince Georges, they could find their social media accounts used against them.

In recent years, social media has been increasingly presented as evidence in civil litigations and courts are accepting it. The American Bar Association points out that one court ruling made in 2011 established that anything posted on a person’s social media account could be considered as property of that person since the account is controlled by a password. Therefore, this met the requirement for the Federal Rule of Evidence. However, counsel that presents social media material as evidence must be able to prove to the court that the material is directly connected to the matter being considered.

Insurance journal states that several cases have opened the door for defendants, such as insurance companies, to request access to plaintiffs’ social media accounts. In one case, the judge ruled in favor of a company after the company argued that pictures posted by the plaintiff’s daughter indicated she had traveled after claiming to be unable to do so. Other postings indicated the woman was also extremely happy despite her allegations that she had greatly suffered after she was injured by the company’s defective chair.

It is important for people to understand that when they are seeking workers’ compensation, their social media accounts could become the target of an investigation by the insurer. Therefore, they should take steps to safeguard the information they have posted online.

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