Social Media Isn’t Private, Don’t Discuss Personal Injury Details
United Airlines employees can spend a lot of time away from home. It’s the nature of the job. Social media platforms make it much easier to stay close to family and friends. A flight attendant or pilot living in Washington DC can feel like they’re barely missing a beat of the evening chatter with the kids, even if they’re laying over in Denver that night and San Francisco the next. However, in the event of a work injury, social media outlets, like Facebook, Twitter, and the like are not the places to discuss details. If that injury results in a claim or court court case, what is said can be taken out of context and used against you.
Privacy settings on social media sites can lull users into a false sense of security. For people with careers that take them away from home regularly, such as United Airlines pilots or flight attendants, social networking sites can become the primary means used to discuss the details of family life or have personal discussions with close friends. After all, nobody but their select group of friends or contacts can see those postings or personal messages right? Unfortunately, that assumption has been proven wrong time and time again. The fact is, information posted on these sites, even by users who set strict limitations on access, can become very public in ways that most users would never expect.
In today’s world, with better than half of all adults participating in some form of social networking, sites like Facebook and Twitter have become a treasure-trove of information on people and their lives. It has become fairly routine for defense attorneys and insurance companies to mine social media sites for information on claimants. Employees who file workers’ compensation or personal injury claims against major corporations like United Airlines would be wise to err on the side of caution and assume that anything posted on social media will be scrutinized by those who will be opposing their claim.
Additionally, it is important to know that even the most innocent posts or pictures can be used to cast doubt in injury cases. For example, a New York United Airlines flight attendant on leave due to an on-the job injury may finally have time to post pictures taken during last year’s vacation trip or a softball game played months before. Should those pictures be viewed by defense attorneys, case investigators or insurance adjusters, they could be used to insinuate that the claimant has been involved with activities that are inconsistent with the injuries claimed.
While the claimant may be able to prove, eventually, that those pictures were taken well before the injury date, the controversy can create unnecessary complications and delays. Also, under some circumstances, pictures and postings available on public profiles can lead to a claimant being compelled by the court to provide access to private areas of that profile, increasing chances postings being taken out of context and used to damage the claimant’s credibility.
The bottom line is this: Anything placed on the internet can become public. United Airlines workers who have been injured on the job would be best served by staying clear of social media until their claims have been resolved. For those who will not give up social networking altogether, at the very least, do not discuss the details of injuries or legal issues surrounding them on the internet, not even in private postings.