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Employers may check social media after injury claims

Pennsylvania employers are sometimes concerned that their employees are filing fraudulent workers' compensation claims. Some fraud does take place, and the National Insurance Crime Bureau estimates that this kind of fraud costs more $7.2 billion annually around the country. To combat this, some employers use surveillance and other investigation tactics to verify claims.

One of the tools that employers often use in workers' compensation investigations is social media. Surveillance can be time-consuming and expensive, but information that is gained through a worker's social media page can be used to speed up the effort. A social media page may contain information about where a worker lives and where they are likely to be going at certain times.

Aiding a surveillance effort is just one of the ways that social media can be used to help a workers' compensation investigation. Social media pages can also be looked over for information that confirms or contradicts statements on a workers' compensation benefit application. Employers may look at the photos or status updates on a worker's social media page to find evidence that the worker is lying about the disability. A worker who is found to have committed workers' compensation fraud could face criminal penalties.

Even people who have been completely honest on their workers' compensation claim form may still be subject to an investigation and surveillance effort by their employer. An attorney may tell injured workers to assume that they are being investigated and save documentation from every doctor's appointment that they go to. Because statements and photos can be misunderstood by outside observers of a person's social media page, an attorney may also recommend updating all of the privacy settings.

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