Could Your Social Media Be Harming Your Workman’s Compensation Case?
If you’ve sustained a work injury, then you know there is so much to keep up with: from filing injury reports to keeping up with medical records. What you might not have considered is how your latest tweet or selfie could be damaging your workers’ compensation case.
Insurance companies are always looking for anything that might cast doubt on the validity of a claim. For instance, if there was no witness, if there are conflicting reports of how the injury occurred, or if there was a delay in reporting the claim, then an insurer will want to look for other means to verify the claim. One such method is using social media.
Insurers will often use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media sites, to investigate your activities to look for contradictions to your claims. For example, if you were to post a selfie of yourself on vacation, when you’re supposedly taking time for recovery, the insurance company may see that as grounds to cancel your benefits. Other things they look for would be any evidence that you’re doing physical activity not related to your recovery, like posting pictures of yourself playing sports or working out at the gym. They also might look to see if you mention working at a second job. Basically they’re looking for anything that would show that your injury is not as debilitating as you claim it is or that you’re not taking your recovery seriously.
Of course that’s not to say you shouldn’t use social media! Just be aware of what you’re posting, and use common sense. Think about how the insurer is going to view your post. What might feel well within your work restrictions to you, might not to an insurance company. When in doubt, don’t post it!
Insurance companies will use social media to check up on workers’ compensation claims. Always be aware of what you’re posting to social media, and if you have any questions, be sure to contact an attorney.
Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Coming and Going to Work?
What happens if you sustain an injury coming from or going to work? Workman’s comp doesn’t cover any incidents that happen off your employer’s property—but it CAN cover injuries that occur when you are on the premises as you are going to or leaving work. This is called the “coming and going rule.” Walking into work from the parking lot or walking out of work to your car, for instance, are examples of typically acceptable cases for workers’ compensation benefits.
There is one thing to keep in mind, however. If your employer has a duty to transport employees or furnish transportation to employment, it is very possible that any injuries sustained during transportation can be covered—even if they occurred while going to and from work, outside of the typical coming and going rule.
Would you like to know more about your rights regarding workplace injuries? Contact Oxner + Permar, and we’ll put you in touch with a team who is knowledgeable and who cares deeply about helping you understand—and fight for—your rights. Whether or not you pursue a legal case, we will make sure you have the information you need to feel confident and move forward in a positive direction.
If you’re injured while going to or from work, are you eligible for workers’ compensation? Find out what benefits may be available to you.
Understanding Your Rights When You Have a Nurse Case Manager
Under NC Workers Compensation law, employers and their insurance carriers are allowed to hire nurse case managers to assist in coordinating medical treatment. Although the nurse case manager is paid by your employer, take comfort in knowing that they are expected to be impartial and exercise independent judgment. In fact, nurse case managers are required to adhere to the NC Industrial Commission Rules for Utilization of Rehabilitation Professionals in Workers Compensation Claims.
When working with a nurse case manager, make sure you know your rights. Here are a few key things to keep in mind:
- A nurse case manager is allowed to attend an injured worker’s doctor appointments; however, the worker has the right to a private exam. Usually the nurse case manager will join the injured worker and doctor after the examination to discuss treatment options.
- A nurse case manager is also required to prepare regular written reports on the injured worker’s treatment. These notes must be provided at the same time to all parties. You have a right to insist on this.
- Know that your communications with the nurse case manager are not protected and that they will likely will be reported back to the insurance carrier. Remember this every time you communicate with him or her.
- A nurse case manager is responsible for helping coordinate your medical treatment—but he or she should not attempt to direct medical treatment or influence your treatment in any way. Furthermore, a nurse case manager is not to be used as an investigator for your claim and may not give legal advice.
In most cases, nurse case managers are very helpful, and can help ensure a smooth road to recovery. Just be sure that you know how to protect your rights in every scenario, including when you are assigned a nurse case manager. We’re here for you throughout the workers’ compensation process because we believe in making wrongs, right.
How Soon After a Worker’s Comp Claim Should You Search for a Job?
If you are in the middle of a workers’ compensation claim, there may come a time when you realize that you cannot return to your job. Many of our clients can no longer perform the job they once had and so they need to begin thinking about what kind of work they can do once they are able. The question we most often hear in this case is whether or not they should be job searching during an active workman’s comp claim.
The answer is yes—absolutely.
Many clients don’t understand the importance of job searching because they think it is counterintuitive. They believe that having work restrictions means no work at all. The thing to remember is that the Workers’ Compensation Commission sees this very differently. They need to see that you are doing everything you can to get back on your feet. It is critical to your case that you start applying for jobs as soon as your attorney advises you to do so. At Oxner + Permar, we routinely recommend looking for at least three to five jobs per week. The goal is to demonstrate to the Commission that you are invested in getting back to work as soon as you are physically able. Your attorney can advise you on what types of jobs you should be looking for and how to best document your search.
If you need to change jobs following a work injury, don’t put your workers’ comp benefits at risk by delaying your search. Be prepared to demonstrate that you will be ready to begin working again as soon as you are physically able.
When Employers Refuse to Acknowledge Your Injury
Often, our clients call us concerned and seeking help because their employer refuses to acknowledge their work injury. They have told their supervisor verbally that they were injured. In some cases, they’ve even let their human resources representative know, but they aren’t getting anywhere. Meanwhile, they aren’t receiving the treatment they need to get better or the pay that they rightfully deserve.
What should you do if you find yourself in this unfortunate position? There ARE steps you can take to get the support you need:
- First, insist on putting your claim of injury in writing. To do this, write an explanation detailing how you were injured. Then send two copies—one to your supervisor and human resources representative.
- The next step is to call either an attorney or the North Carolina Industrial Commission to get a Form 18 filed. The Form 18 is formal notice to all important parties that you are claiming an injury due to your work. This form gets the process started and out of the hands of your employer. It will get the workers’ compensation carrier’s attention and should get your claim moving.
The Workers’ Compensation Act was created to protect employees like you. Don’t let your employer intimidate you out of pursuing your rights. Oxner + Permar attorneys specialize in workers’ comp. We’ve won more than $275m in awards and settlements for our clients—and we are dedicated to helping you get the treatment and pay you deserve.
Have you been injured on the job, and your employer refuses to help? File the Form 18 and get your claim moving forward.