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Be careful online when you're on workers' compensation

Are you frustrated with your work injury? How do you feel about the workers’ compensation process, with its seemingly-endless requirements and consultative exams?

At this point in most American’s lives, taking to Facebook or Twitter to air a grievance is fairly natural. Even if it doesn’t do any real good, it doesn’t hurt anyone, right?

Hold on. You might be doing the verbal equivalent of waving a red flag at a raging bull, because the odds are good that either your employer or a workers’ comp insurance investigator is watching what you post.

While you technically have the right to post a complaint about the conditions at work that led to your injury, you need to be careful what else you say. Disparage your employer in another way and you might fall afoul of a clause in your terms of employment and give your employer a valid reason to terminate you.

You also need to remember that anything you post online could be held up as “proof” that you aren’t really all that seriously injured. Any post that seems to show you doing anything that remotely resembles “enjoying life” can be used against you.

Did you attend a relative’s birthday? Is that you, smiling for the camera? That photo could be evidence that your chronic back pain and inability to function normally isn’t as bad as you claim.

You may know what the camera didn’t show (like the fact that you left the table after the photo and laid down in the back bedroom for the next two hours until it was time to leave), but good luck proving it when the other side has photos.

Similarly, posting even a comment about how you had a “great time at dinner” with friends you haven’t seen in a while could be used as evidence that your injury-related depression is over.

While a workers’ compensation attorney can help you fight the loss of benefits based on what you’ve posted online, it’s much easier to avoid the problem all together. Consider closing your accounts for the duration of your claim. If you won’t do that, set the controls to private and make sure none of your bosses are on your account. Then, be very careful what you post, just in case someone decides to share a post with your employer out of spite.