Social Media and Compensation Claims
- 26 Mar 2019
Social media has become part of people’s everyday life but the last thing that you want to deal with is something affecting your compensation claim. Social media posts have been legally be used as surveillance evidence in compensation and super/TPD claims. Don’t make the mistake of posting something you believe is innocent only to have that brought up at a later date and potentially affect your CTP, workers' compensation, slip & fall or super/TPD claim.
The case of Digby v The Compass Institute Inc & Anor (2015) QSC308 established that insurers don’t need to inform you (the plaintiff) when they intend to use Facebook or social media data.
The best course of action is you commence a compensation claim is to quit Facebook and social media entirely.
If you can’t go cold turkey and still need to be on social media, you will need to be vigilant about what you post.
What to avoid posting on Social Media
When making posts with a pending compensation or Super/ TPD claim you need to avoid posting anything that invalidates your compensation claim (or could be seen to do so). Do not post:
- Photographic evidence of strenuous activity – like sports, jet skiing, running, weightlifting or swimming.
- Verbal evidence of strenuous activity – just talking about having done or enjoying certain activities can potentially damage your claim.
- Posts that contradict your claimed level of pain – what contradicts your claim depends on your claim. For example, if you claim you need a neck brace all the time, a single photo without your wearing it may damage your compensation claim.
- Admitting liability – social media is not private. No matter how safe you think it is, it's not the place to discuss possible liability or anything to do with your claim.
Ultimately to avoid social media damaging your compensation claim, consider each post and if it can be seen to contradict your claim. The insurers will not hesitate using surveillance on you and your posts to reduce your compensation payout.
You should also avoid posting things that could be used against you less directly but still may affect your compensation payout such as:
- Comments on legal advice or progress of the compensation claim – Stating anything about your claim or what is happen between you and your compensation lawyer isn’t wise and you may lose legal professional privilege.
- Your intended locations – Providing your location makes it easier for the insures to track you down. They may hire surveillance to watch you.
- What your friends are posting – Even if you are watching your own posts, information can be used against you from posts your friends and family make. So make sure they know what not to post.
- How often you post – The frequency of your posts could be used against you. It may be construed to show less disability than is being claimed.
- Where you post from – The same as how often you post, the places you are posting from may also be used against your claim. If your compensation claim involves not being able to get around, the locations of your posts may be used against you.
- Emotional content of posts – If a psychological aspect is part of your compensation claim, make sure the content you are posting matches. It can feel natural to pretend to be happier than you are on social media. If you are including depression or other psychological hardship as part of your claim, may damage your case or even get it dismissed.
Impact of Social media on Compensation Claims
At the end of the day the impact of social media on your compensation claim is up to you. The insures can’t use information that they don’t have, so pay close attention to what you and your social media friends post. You don’t want a seemingly innocent post to reduce your compensation payout.