Everything good or bad that happens in our lives goes straight onto our Facebook wall: buying that new place in Sydney, that awful break-up, or just that hour of boredom at work. But is it really a good idea to broadcast every aspect of your life on the internet if you’re working with a lawyer to claim for worker’s compensation?
There isn’t a person on Facebook who doesn’t have at least a few photos of them and their mates having a good time at a party. Maybe you’re just all sitting around drinking, or you might be getting up to a bit more. Regardless of what’s happening in the photos, they can be used as evidence against you and your worker’s compensation claim.
One real-life example of this sort of thing happening in a worker’s compensation case occurred in Arkansas in America. Zackery Clement was injured at work when a fridge fell on him. As a result of the accident, Clement found himself with a hernia. His initial claim for worker’s compensation went through, and he spent over a year receiving compensation for medical expenses and total-disability benefits. However, when Clement returned to court to extend the period of his compensation things went south.
Zackery Clement felt that he still needed to be on worker’s compensation for his accident as he was in “excruciating pain”. His first attempt at extending his benefits failed when medical tests on Clement found that he had no hernia anymore and didn’t need any further surgery. It was when Clement returned to court to appeal this decision that the Facebook photos appeared.
In a series of pictures shown to the court, Zackery Clement can be seen drinking with his buddies at a party, and generally having a good time – somewhat unbelievable behaviour for a man who claimed to be in excruciating pain. Initially, Clement tried to have the photos disregarded as evidence in the claim, but the court ruled that the photos could be used as proof against him. And with that Zackery Clement’s claim was denied.
Pictures of parties could cost you your worker’s compensation claim
The lesson here is obvious: if you’re going to claim for worker’s compensation, don’t be silly and have photographic proof of you doing things you claim you can’t, especially on your personal Facebook page.