Social media as a tool to fight workers' compensation fraud

Many Pennsylvania employees who are injured at work have a legal right to workers' compensation benefits, but businesses often have safeguards in place to protect them from fraudulent claims. Workers' compensation fraud is a crime, and it is estimated to cost businesses and insurers about $7.2 million a year. Surveillance can help insurance fraud investigators to find evidence, and social media is increasingly being used as another tool.

Social media can help investigators to identify claimants by photographs or reveal personal information about a claimant's personal activities, whereabouts at certain times or other information that could be used as evidence against a claim. Many individuals have public social media profiles that contain a great deal of personal information. A claimant might also post a photo or statement that could help an investigator identify possible fraud. In one case, a woman who filed for workers' compensation benefits after saying she had fallen at work later posted on social media that she had fallen at a nearby gas station.

Surveillance can sometimes show claimants engaged in activities that reported injuries would have prevented them from doing. By combining the use of social media and surveillance, investigators can sometimes find information that enables them to smoke out fraudulent claims. Surveillance can be costly for businesses, but the cost of workers' compensation fraud could be higher.

Not all claims that are denied or disputed are fraudulent, of course. Companies have a vested financial interest in keeping their insurance premiums down. People who have been injured at work accordingly might want the assistance of counsel to help ensure that their claims contain all applicable supporting documentation and are filed in a timely manner.

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