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September 2018

What Happens To My Privacy In A Workers Compensation Case?

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4 things to know about your privacy rights 

Before working with us on your workers comp case, it is important to know exactly what you are getting into. Workers Compensation Cases are stressful enough so to add an element of surprise isn’t the ideal scenario. Let’s make sure that you understand your privacy rights during a workers compensation case 

Your records are private & should remain that way

In NY, your records are private documents. Only the parties to a claim, the employer, employer’s attorney and the employer’s workers compensation insurer and its attorney may receive information from that claim’s case file. 

Your social media could be used against you

A big red flag to be aware of is that in some cases, investigators’ will request passwords to your private social media accounts. If you refuse, they may be able to subpoena your passwords. Be conscious of what you are posting on Facebook and other platforms after you are injured at work. It may be used against you to make it look like the injury was pre-existing or that the injury was extremely minor. 

Signing a confidentiality agreement may not be the best choice

There are times that the employer may want the injured worker to keep the amount and terms confidential. Initially, this may not seem like a big deal to you. Yet depending on how you receive the money, signing an agreement could cause your settlement to be taxed. This could make your settlement significantly smaller than originally intended. 

The Privacy Rule isn’t Perfect

“The Privacy Rule recognizes the legitimate need of insurers and other entities involved in the workers’ compensation systems to have access to individuals’ health information as authorized by State or other law.” This rule holds violators accountable, with civil and criminal penalties and ultimately limits the release of information to the minimum needed for the purpose of the disclosure. While this may sound great, keep in mind that “minimum needed” leaves room for discussion. Since this is a very subjective term, the “minimum” could end up being more information than you had originally intended.

No Worker’s Compensation Case is the same. You may experience one or all of these during your case so it is important to have a basic understanding of the issues at hand.

In order to make sure you know how to protect your privacy, give us a call at 716-854-1446.

Article adapted from:

New York State Workers’ Compensation Board & U.S Department of Health and Human Services

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