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Social media websites emerging as valuable weapon in fight against work comp fraud

It's not uncommon to scan the internet news headlines and read stories about supposedly injured employees photographed by investigators playing football with friends or working out at a local gym.

This type of employee fraud - while certainly not the norm - can still cost an employer thousands of dollars in fraudulent work comp claims, something they can ill afford in today's troubled economy.

Interestingly enough, legal experts have identified a new weapon being utilized by work comp defense attorneys in the fight against work comp fraud: social media websites.

According to Jaclyn Millner, an attorney and author of a recent report on the evolving relationship between social media and workers' compensation law, the use of social media evidence is becoming commonplace in work comp litigation. (It is already commonplace in family law, employment law and even criminal law cases.)

To illustrate the value of social media in exposing employee fraud/work comp litigation, consider a photograph of an employee who claimed to have suffered a back injury lifting weights on his Facebook page or a posted conversation on a Facebook page about a weekend spent waterskiing by a supposedly injured worker.

Millner cautions, however, that social media evidence, while valuable, is typically not the cornerstone of a strong work comp defense.

"Usually, Facebook evidence is best used to substantiate some other evidence you have found in your investigation," said Millner.

Accordingly, a strong work comp defense will more than likely be built on a comprehensive investigation/discovery process that includes requests for medical records, potential investigations, interviews, depositions and, of course, evidence gathered from the internet/social media websites.

Workers compensation fraud/employee fraud is a very serious crime. If you suspect that such a crime has been perpetrated against your organization, you should strongly consider speaking with an experienced workers' comp defense attorney.

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Related Resources:

Social media is becoming a workers' comp investigative tool (Risk & Insurance)

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