Workers' Compensation

February 29, 2012

Anything posted on a Social Networking web site can possibly be used in Court. An Appeals Court in Arkansas has ruled that photos on My Space of a man “drinking and partying” can be used as evidence to deny him further Workers’ Compensation benefits. The claimant in that case was receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits after a refrigerator fell on him while on the job. When he petitioned for additional benefits, the Workers’ Compensation insurance carrier showed photos from his own My Space page to the Workers’ Compensation Judge of his drinking and partying. These were used to deny him additional benefits. He argued that he needed further medical treatment and disability payments because of “excruciating pain”.

The Court ruled that there is no abuse in allowing the photos as evidence. The Court ruled that if he was in such excruciating pain, he would not have been able to be drinking and partying as shown in the photos. The Judge ruled, “Certainly these pictures could have a bearing on a claimant’s credibility, albeit a negative effect the claimant might not wish to be demonstrated to the ALJ or the Commission… We hold that there was not an abuse of discretion in allowing the photographs.”