Social Media and Workers' Compensation Claims
Social networking’s popularity has become a two-edged sword as a tool in the management, investigation, and disposition of workers’ compensation claims. Over the last several years, there has been an exponential explosion in the use of this technology on the Internet.
THE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS IN LITIGATION
Social media has become a ubiquitous part of our daily lives, and it is not surprising that it has made its way into the legal arena. Evidence gathered from social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others has become an increasingly common feature in court cases. The evidential use of social media in courts has both advantages and disadvantages, and it is important to understand how it can be used effectively and responsibly.
One advantage of using social media as evidence in court is the vast amount of information it contains. Social media platforms collect and store personal information and data, including posts, comments, photos, and videos. This information can be used to support or refute a case and provide insight into a person's thoughts, beliefs, and actions. For example, a post or comment on social media could be used as evidence of intent in a criminal case, or a photo or video could support or refute eyewitness testimony.
Another advantage of using social media as evidence is that it can be accessed and analyzed quickly and efficiently. With the rise of digital forensics and data analysis tools, it is easier than ever to gather and analyze data from social media platforms. This can help speed up the legal process and reduce the cost and time associated with traditional forms of evidence gathering.
However, there are also disadvantages to using social media as evidence in court. One concern is the reliability of the information. Social media is often used to express opinions, and it is not always clear whether the information posted is accurate. Additionally, how social media information is presented can be misleading, and it can be easy to manipulate or falsify information.
Another concern is the privacy and security of the information. Social media platforms collect and store vast amounts of personal information, and there are concerns about the security of this information and the risk of it being hacked or leaked. Furthermore, there are also ethical and legal concerns surrounding the use of social media evidence, particularly in terms of privacy and data protection laws.
In conclusion, the evidential use of social media in courts can provide valuable insight into a case and support or refute the case. However, it is important to use this evidence responsibly and ensure that the information is reliable and that privacy and data protection laws are respected. The use of social media as evidence in court is a rapidly evolving area, and it is important to keep up with the latest developments and best practices to ensure that it is used effectively and responsibly.
THE PRIVACY CHALLENGES FOR STAKEHOLDERS
The challenges to properly access and effectively utilize electronically stored information [ESI] result in procedural and ethical ramifications for the workers’ compensation community.
Injured workers should consult their attorneys and review what information is being shared on the Internet. See, MATTER OF GIGLIA v. SUNY BUFFALO-UNION, 2022 NY Slip Op 2603 - NY: Appellate Div., 3rd Dept. 2022, MATTER OF CONLIFFE v. Darden Restaurant, 187 AD 3d 1398 - NY: Appellate Div., 3rd Dept. 2020, WALMART, INC. v. Ohler, La: Court of Appeals, 1st Circuit 2019 , MATTER OF PAPADAKIS v. Fresh Meadow Power NE LLC, 167 AD 3d 1286 - NY: Appellate Div., 3rd Dept. 2018 , MATTER OF NIKAC v. JOAL RESTAURANT CORP., 187 AD 3d 1280 - NY: Appellate Div., 3rd Dept. 2020, Nero v. Allied Waste Services, 265 So. 3d 1129 - La: Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit 2019 .
Employers and insurance companies should consult their attorneys to determine what activities are legally and ethically appropriate when utilizing social media.
Even the judiciary is subject to ethical considerations when utilizing social media.
Technology continues to evolve. Moore’s Law (Moore's law is the observation that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit (IC) doubles every two years. Moore's law is an observation and projection of a historical trend. Rather than a law of physics, it is an empirical relationship linked to gains from experience in production.) The rapid development of transitory technology is being replaced by the rapid development of silicone microchip production.
Stored data is now expanding through Cloud Computing and using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning.
INSTABILITY OF SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS
The platforms used for social media are also changing. The “instability” of Twitter because of its purchase and changes implemented by Elon Musk may make it less reliable. The Chinese ownership of TikTok is also raising concerns over data acquisition by foreign states, ie. China. The reliability and manipulation of social media data will be a concern in the future.
“Facebook Becomes a Questionable Friend of Workers Compensation,” By Jon L. Gelman, download link available below.
PODCAST: Jon L. Gelman and Alan S. Pierce discuss this topic on Legal Talk Network, List at http://legaltalknetwork.com/podcasts/workers-comp-matters/2011/04/privacy-clients-and-social-media/. Click here to Download the audio file.
The author, Jon L. Gelman, practices law in Wayne, NJ. He is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (Thomson-Reuters). For over five decades, the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman 1.973.696.7900 email@example.com have represented injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.
Recommended Citation: Gelman, Jon L., Social Media and Workers' Compensation Claims, www.gelmans.com (2022), https://www.gelmans.com/ReadingRoom/tabid/65/ArtMID/1482/ArticleID/1013/preview/true/Default.aspx
© 2001-2023 Jon L Gelman. All rights reserved.
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