Challenges to PIP Payments

We have noticed an increasing number of challenges to personal injury protection (PIP) payments by use of mere medical records reviewing companies. These companies are sometimes based in Arizona, Las Vegas, Florida or other places. They often hire individuals who purport to be DC’s or MD’s who, for a price, supposedly review the records produced by the treating DC and then write a report. The report usually determines that the volume of care is insufficiently documented and/or was unnecessary due to improper or insufficient diagnostic coding. Often, the reviewing agency will also suggest that the prices for the individually CPT-coded treatment modalities exceeds the “usual and customary” rate for such services. Many times we have seen no reference to the Relative Value Study in such a conclusion. When you discover one of these efforts being used to decline payment of Personal Injury Protection benefits, there are several things you need to remember.

First, remember that although the Utah Chiropractic Physicians Association has determined that paper reviewing is unethical, such an objection will not guarantee that the practice will either be stopped or used to allow the court to block the admissibility of the records reviewing physician from testifying in court. Rarely are these physicians members of the UCPA or licensed in Utah. Such lack of licensure and the fact that such practice might be unethical may go to the weight to be given to the testimony and used as a means of impeaching the value of such physician’s testimony. However, most judges will still allow the jury to hear the testimony if the matter were to be tried before a court. Most insurance companies know that these matters rarely go to court, and they are simply using the records reviewing position as a means of avoiding an allegation of bad faith against the insurance company itself. Under case law in Utah, bad faith does not exist if there is even a “fairly debatable” challenge to the actions of the insurance company. If the insurance company can rely upon the testimony of another “expert” to suggest that the care was unnecessary or unreasonable, then they have created a question of fact which they can use to say that the argument was at least “fairly debatable.”

Second, if you are unaware that Section 31A-22-307(2) UCA establishes the Relative Value Study as a means of determining the reasonableness of charge, then you will not be able to effectively battle with an insurance company’s allegation of unreasonableness. Get familiar with that code section and use the Relative Value Study to establish the prices for the codes you are charging.

Third, the biggest argument that most of these records review physicians use is the lack of sufficient documentation. Look at the following paragraph which was taken directly from one such reviewer’s letter:

The patient is a 31 year old female born on 10/27/80 and involved in a motor vehicle accident on October 22, 2011. She has been diagnosed with cervical and thoracic sprain/strain with lumbar and rib segmental dysfunction. Relevant objective findings are unremarkable.

The records have been provided and 67 pages were reviewed. I fee that treatment rendered is excessive. I feel that this injury does not warrant treatment beyond the initial 12 visits. The casual relationship is developed through daily chart notes. The patient stated that she was treated previously in this office, however there were no records to review. The daily chart notes do not contain sufficient objective documentation to support medical necessity for all care rendered to the patient. Treatments on the dates of service in question are not documented as medically necessary. The chiropractic treatment records in this case are quite abbreviated and provide little clinical information. To be considered medically necessary and to support continuation of the treatment plan, the clinical records should demonstrate progressive subjective and measurable objective improvement, with functional gains. Furthermore, the authoritative guidelines call for an interim exam to be performed every 12 visits or 30 days to develop medical necessity. To date and 2 months post injury, there have been no interim exams submitted nor any documented in the billing. These exams would include: orthopedic testing, neurologic testing that includes reflex, motor and sensation testing, nor range of motion testing. With proper interim exams the doctor can monitor progress and design a revised treatment plan. There are no positive orthopedic tests or neurological findings discussed. There are no continuing values for range of motion. I therefore feel that the date of service (12/30/11) with the accompanying CPT codes (98941, 97110, 97140, and 97035) is not medically necessary.

Is the above language really asking too much? Most physicians already do exactly what this records reviewing physician is asking to be done. If you are not doing this approach and are merely using SOAP notes to document your patient’s condition and progress, then you are asking for trouble and when you find it, will not be able to find it to defend yourself or justify your care very effectively. A far stronger approach is simply to improve the quality of your documentation. It really isn’t that difficult. Now, by my suggestion that the above records reviewing physician has a point doesn’t mean to suggest that I like or agree with what they do. These record reviewing “IME” physicians are merely wolves who are trying to prey upon the weakest of the herd. If your records make you look like you are weak, then you will be much more likely to have your billings challenged and your cash flow interrupted.

Is it Soup Yet?

In handling the numerous cases we currently have, we make every effort to try to get your patient’s case resolved as soon as practical. It’s important to remember that you, the treating physician, and we, the law firm, are in this together since neither one of us can get compensated (once PIP is exhausted) until the matter is settled or resolved through mediation, arbitration, or trial.

In the usual case, there are a number of “moving pieces” to consider. The most important factor that causes a delay in resolving a case is the length of time it takes the patient to get to the point of resolution of his injuries so that we can be able to effectively evaluate his case. We only get one resolution, and we have to make sure that the settlement is for an appropriate amount, given the best knowledge available as to the extent of your patient’s injuries. Many times new injuries or complications develop or crop up during the course of treatment that are not initially known. In many instances, a case that begins as what appears to be a non-surgical case ends up with our client requiring surgery causing additional frustrating complications or recovery time needed for the surgery.

Although it is not necessary for the patient to be 100% completed with all of his care and treatment, it is necessary for us to know the extent of any necessary future treatment. We are in frequent, although not constant, contact with each of client’s treating physicians. However, many times treating physicians do not respond to our inquiries quickly or tell us when treatment is completed. Sometimes the physician assumes that we know when treatment is completed, possibly thinking that the patient will tell us. However, many times the patients, our clients, do not always tell us when their treatment is completed, assuming that we have heard from the physicians.

We want to get your patient’s case settled or resolved. We want to get it settled or resolved as soon as possible. Therefore, please tell us when his treatment is completed or if or when new developments have occurred that changes the course of his treatment. For example, if you suggest that your patient see a different physician or obtain a MRI, tell us so we can obtain those records and be able to include the cost of that additional treatment and the outcome of that treatment or diagnostic care in our evaluation of the case. Finally, get us the records and bills. Send them to us before the patient is through treating. Send us the rest as soon as the patient is done.

When a hungry person has been invited to dinner, he will often wonder when the soup will be completed. Hence, the cry “Is it soup yet?” is often the age-old question that the hungry partakers wonder. We are hungry to get your patient’s case settled or resolved. We do our best not to interfere in the course of health care treatment, but we need your help to let us know what is going on. You might be telling us things we already know, but that’s okay. Likewise, we need to know if your patient (our client) has repeatedly missed appointments or simply stopped going in for treatment. Letting us know when any changes in treatment occur will help us get your patient’s case moving quicker. Just give us a call and let us know.

It complicates our handling of the case if we do not know how much chiropractic care is involved or what progress is being made. Please do not wait until the case is completed before sending us what records you have.

Email us if you’d like or give us a call. Our office number is 801-601-8323.

Just a Few Reminders

Social Networking

In recent editions of Larson Law Letter, we have put out the word that your Facebook image can be discoverable by the court. Therefore, if you have been injured, and we are representing you, we ask that you scale back your involvement on Facebook at least to the point where you are deleting any photographs of you being a happy, smiling and active bicyclist, skateboarder, snowboarder, snow or water skier, or other image that may suggest that you are busily engaged in physical activities that might be taken by someone to suggest that you are not in fact injured. It is not our intention to micromanage what you do with your Facebook, MySpace, or other kinds of social networking accounts. However, we are merely trying to protect the integrity of your case by not trying to create a false image of how you are doing on a physical level. Obviously, such photographs or statements concerning your activities prior to the date of injury would be fine. Likewise, it is possible that some of the activities have not been affected by your injuries. Just use your head. If in doubt, give us a call and let us know.

Medical Treatment

We also want to remind you to be aggressive in your medical treatment. If you need surgery, the longer you wait to have it, generally the longer you will suffer and the harder it becomes for us to link the need for surgery up to the subject collision. If the accident or event happened five years ago and you still have not had the surgery, it is very difficult for us to convince a jury or an arbiter that the need for surgery was because of the injury or event. Get your health care done. If you are having problems for whatever reason, please let us know. Oftentimes we have solutions, and things can be worked out.

Keep Us Posted

Don’t forget to let us know when you add a new health care provider to your list, change your address, finish or complete your rehabilitation, or do anything that might in some way relate to your case. We are not always in constant contact with your doctors, and they do not always immediately tell us what you are doing. If there is a change in your status, either for the better or for the worse, let us know so we can hear about these things. We would like to get your case wrapped up as soon as possible. If you have finished or are nearing completion of your treatment, we want to know so we can take steps in getting the last of your remaining records. Surprisingly, your doctor will probably not automatically send the records to us.

Tell Others About Us

We do our best to try to make our customers happy and produce the best result in their cases. If we have done a good job for you, please visit googlemaps.com, citysearch.com; ksl.com or any of the other sites which have a rating system. We would be flattered if you would write us a good review and share with others your impressions of what we are doing. If you don’t believe we’ve done a good job for you, please give us a call. We can often fix that or make corrections so we can improve.

Utah Juries Are Stingy

Remember – juries in Utah tend to be very stingy with regard to damages. Many jurors do not believe that pain and suffering damages should be awarded at all. Therefore, even though you may have suffered a great deal, most juries do not want to hear and are not sympathetic to what you believe are your needs. So, when we talk to you about the value of your case, please be realistic and realize that we will get as much for you as we can, but in many instances, unless your injuries are truly catastrophic in nature, a Utah jury will not respond with a very large verdict. Believe us when we say we wish they would respond with larger verdicts! Our job would become easier and our profitability would increase because we are collecting a percentage of the value of what the case resolves for. Higher verdicts mean higher settlements. When you speak with family members or friends or other persons about the court system or what is heard on TV that juries do, remember you are often only hearing one side of the story (from the media). Also remember that you can do a small part in helping to change the attitudes of some of the people who might eventually serve on a jury.

Visit Us on the Internet

Don’t forget to visit us on our website at larsonlawutah.comm and also visit us on Facebook. We are doing our best to try to keep these sites as active and interesting as possible. We would certainly welcome your suggestions and recommendations. Likewise, we welcome your recommendations for future articles in the Larson Law Letter. And, as always, we always welcome referrals of family members or friends. If there is any way we can help them, we would love to do so.

Motor Vehicle Safety

Motor Vehicle Safety to avoid the leading cause of death

Motor vehicle crashes are among the top 10 causes of death in the U.S., and are the leading cause of death for 5- to 34-year-olds. In 2007, motor vehicle crashes ranked third—behind cancer and heart disease—in terms of potential life lost before age 65. In economic terms, crashes account for an estimated $99 billion in medical and lost-work costs annually.

Crash-related deaths are largely preventable, and improvements have been made. Between 2000 and 2009, the number of miles traveled by motor vehicles nationwide increased by 8.5 percent, yet the injury rate declined. Big drops occurred for children, with 49 percent fewer pedestrian deaths and 58 percent fewer bicycle deaths.

While safe roadways, safer vehicles and safer road use continue to make a difference, it’s the changes in behavior that have a major impact in reducing crash deaths. The best examples of behavior change include:

  • Passing and enforcing effective seat belt laws in 49 states and the District of Columbia (What’s up, New Hampshire?);
  • Passing and enforcing effective legislation to protect children riding in cars and using safety seats in all 50 states;
  • Adoption of graduated driver licensing policies for teens, admitting young beginners to full driving privileges in phases (implemented to varying degrees in most states and the District of Columbia.

We encourage everyone experience a higher level of motor vehicle safety by properly using seat belts and car seats!

Research Sheds Light on the Truth about Lawsuits and the Medical Profession

A recent USA Today article by Carl T. Bogus shed some interesting light on the truth about the way the civil justice system affects the cost of health care in our country. We have all heard the recent furor of skyrocketing malpractice premiums driving physicians out of business. Naturally, the thought of a shortage of doctors to treat those with injuries and illnesses makes us a little uncomfortable. We have been told by insurers that the cause of these sky-high premiums is unjustified lawsuits by people trying to make a buck from their doctor.

As we all know, there are problems in the health care industry. But Carl Bogus shows that cause of these problems is not what we have been told it is.
The article points to research by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to show that, from 1995 to 2000, new medical malpractice claims declined by about 4%.

We also see that jurors are not “overly sympathetic to patients with unfortunate medical outcomes regardless of whether anyone is to blame.” The truth shows nearly the opposite. Research by Valerie Hans and William Lofquist shows that more than 80% of people beginning jury duty say they believe there are too many frivolous lawsuits. According to the researchers, only a third believes that most plaintiffs have legitimate grievances.

From a study done by the National Center for State Courts, we learn how difficult it is for plaintiffs to win. The rate of victory for a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case is 30%. That is lower than any other category of litigation. Strong evidence is needed to be victorious in such a case.

Even in such cases where plaintiffs are victorious, studies have shown that large “out of control” and “runaway” verdicts we hear so much about are not an accurate picture of reality. According to a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, when a plaintiff is successful, 15% of verdicts are above $1 million, but of that percentage, 75% or more are decreased by the judge or appellate courts.

Bogus points out what likely is a key factor in the crisis: the downturn of the stock market, which only recently has been reversed. This down turn significantly reduced insurance company reserves and investment income. He uses the example of when one of the largest malpractice insurers, The St. Paul Companies, caused havoc in four states by halting the writing of malpractice policies. This problem was the result of major investment losses, including at least $70 million in Enron.

The dark reality of medical malpractice still looms large. According to the Institute of Medicine, 44,000 to 98,000 hospital patients die every year from preventable accidents. It is natural that some physicians will make mistakes, no one is perfect. However, the disciplinary system is lax and few doctors who have multiple malpractice claims against them are ever disciplined. According to Public Citizen and reports filed by the National Practitioner Data Bank, about 5% of physicians account for the majority of all medical malpractice claims. Also, only 13.3% of doctors who have paid five or more malpractice claims have been subject to professional discipline. Little is done to motivate change in malpracticing physicians.

We all know there are problems with our health care system. If we want to solve these problems, we must know the source of the problems.
Following:

(a) a copy of the operators valid:

(i) insurance policy;
(ii) binder notice;
(iii) renewal notice; or
(iv) card issued my an insurance company as evidence of insurance;

(b) a certificate of insurance issued under Section 41-12a-402;
(c) a certified copy of a surety bond issued under Section 41-12a-405;
(d) a certificate of the state treasurer issued under Section 41-12a-406;
(e) a certificate of self-funded coverage issued under Section 41-12a-407, or
(f) information that the vehicle or driver is insured from the Uninsured Motorist Identification Database Program created under Title 41, Chapter 12a, Part 8.
(8) A person is guilty of a class B misdemeanor, and shall be fined not less than $100, who:
(a) when requested to provide security information under Subsection (1), or Section 41-12a-303.2, provides false information;
(b) falsely represents to the department that security required under this chapter is in effect; or
(c) sells a vehicle to avoid the penalties of this section as applicable either to himself of a third party.

Saboteurs In (The) Waiting (Room)

Nearly all doctors I work with have a sort of dichotomy they deal with every day.  It is that personality split between the altruistic, virtue-based, compassionate health care provider and the cold, hard business person who makes the tough decisions. Over-dominance by one or the other can kill your practice.  We all are in a service industry because, among other things, we get a personal, intangible satisfaction from helping people.  You probably don’t like to think with your wallet.  However, doing so in the right way will help you balance your practice in a logical, pragmatic approach that allows your business to thrive while staying rewarding in other ways.  This is a reality you likely know all too well, and one that has given birth to an entire seminar industry.  Lucky for you, I am not a psychologist, spiritual guru or philosopher.  I’m not going to tell you how to find the right balance.

However, it is against this backdrop that I inform you of an incident that happened recently to one good DC who was simply trying to help someone in acute pain.  This doctor had a new patient come into his office who had been experiencing severe low back pain.  After a thorough examination (where he determined this person, while legitimately in pain, had a poor attitude), the DC reluctantly offered the patient some minimal treatment on an intersegmental traction table, set on the lowest setting.  He then had her lay face down on a spinal distraction table, also at a minimal setting.  When there was no pain relief at this point, this DC, using his good judgment, decided that any further treatment would not be appropriate, and recommended that she follow-up with an MD to get some pain relief medicine.  He sent her on her way, and charged her an unremarkable, average fee for the exam and the minimal treatment.

This DC was later contacted by this patient who was unhappy about the charges.  The patient acknowledged that this DC’s time was worth something, but thought he had charged too much.  The DC disagreed, but compromised his charges and sent a partial refund check to the patient.  A few days later, this DC received a letter from an attorney at one of the largest downtown law firms in the state, demanding a full refund, and also threatening legal action in the form of a lawsuit and a complaint to DOPL.  The letter stated that this patient had gone straight to the emergency room following the treatment by this DC, and suggested that this DC had injured the patient (although the letter never said what was wrong with the patient or what additional injury was allegedly caused by this DC’s actions).

Lost in the facts of this story is one simple detail: the patient was an employee at that large downtown firm from whence the nasty letter was sent.  That firm is crawling with insurance defense attorneys itching to take a shot at a chiropractor.  This patient should have been turned away without the doctor touching her.  In hindsight, this DC knew it from the outset by her attitude in the exam room and from the employer listed on the intake forms.  However, this DC simply came out on the wrong side of the internal struggle between compassionate physician and hardened business professional.

The story has a happy ending.  This DC called Larson Law, and we were able to get the matter resolved quickly.  In exchange for a refund of the charges, this DC now has a signed release form from the patient, releasing him from any legal action or liability.  We recommended he not even offer the refund, but this DC wanted a quick and simple resolution, which is understandable.  The moral of the story is that while the claims against this doctor were without merit, the potential trouble could have been avoided by listening to his business self and turning this patient away.  The DC knew going in that this patient may be troublesome. Know who is sitting in your waiting room.  If there is potential for trouble, decline to treat that person.  There are plenty of others who need your help.

Adam G. Larson, Esq.

Utah health insurers post healthy profits

The recession was short-lived for Utah’s health insurance companies.
Despite halting economic recovery, all but one of the state’s five largest insurers posted robust profits last year.
Some paid fewer medical claims than they expected due to cost-conscious patients delaying or forgoing medical care. Others captured new customers. All benefitted from a rebounding stock market and higher returns on investments.

Yet the companies — including the nonprofits SelectHealth and Regence BlueCross BlueShield, Utah’s two largest insurers — continue to hike premiums while sitting on large reserves.

They defend double-digit increases in rates that they charge as a means to prepare for the unknowns of federal health reform and the likelihood that people will spend more on health care when family finances stabilize.

“It’s important to have modest operating margins so that we can meet our obligation to pay claims and reinvest in the community to help our members,” said Mark Brown, a vice president and CFO of SelectHealth, the insurance arm of Intermountain Healthcare.

But industry watchdogs say insurers are socking away far more than regulations require, begging the question: when will consumers catch a break?

BlueCross BlueShield of Utah netted $16.2 million last year, a sharp reversal from 2009, when the company reported a $25 million loss.

And it built up reserves by 13 percent for a total of $244 million. That’s more than the company had socked away before the recession in 2006, and nearly eight times the amount required by the state Department of Insurance.

SelectHealth is resting on $279.7 million, seven times more than required, and posted a second year of profits.

“This is classic nonprofit behavior,” said Avram Goldstein, communications and research director the pro-reform group Health Care for America Now. “They’re hoarding cash at same time that they’re inflicting massive premium hikes on customers.”

Brown called SelectHealth’s reserve levels “safe and appropriate,” and said,” We have not made an effort to accumulate additional reserves.”

Jake Garn, chief examiner at the state insurance department, agrees: “By and large, health insurers don’t have excessive surpluses.”

He cautions against using reserve requirements as a gauge to determine whether nonprofits are feathering their nests, noting they are just a bare minimum meant to alert regulators to financial weaknesses that put policyholders at risk.

At a time when Americans are losing patience with soaring health care costs, it’s easy to blame insurers, said Garn. “But in Utah the profit percentage for health insurers is at about 1 percent. That’s lower than grocery stores, oil companies, pharmaceutical companies and hospitals.”

Utahns have long enjoyed some of the lowest insurance rates in the nation, but they’re rising with no relief in sight.

BY KIRSTEN STEWART
The Salt Lake Tribune
First published Jul 03 2011 11:08PM 
Updated Jul 7, 2011 08:28AM

Teen Driving a Major Safety Concern

The summer 2010 issue of The Safety Report magazine listed the following worrisome facts about teen driving:

In 2006, drivers between the ages of 15 and 17 were involved in nearly one million accidents that led to over 400,000 injuries and 2,000 deaths.

Auto accidents are the leading cause of death of teenagers, accounting for 36% of deaths in that age group.

Drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 have a greater risk of being involved in an automobile accident than any other age group.

The probability for a teen suffering an injury in an automobile crash increases with each additional passenger in the car.

One-third of all teen drivers are involved in an automobile accident in their first year of driving.

Driving is a great privilege and can be a real convenience to parents tired of having to be at several places at once due to their kids’ hectic schedules. Driving a vehicle is a dangerous activity, however, especially for the novice driver. Recent laws that restrict the ability of teens to drive with other teens make great sense in light of the accident statistics, and should be enforced by parents as well as the police.

Slip and Fall Injuries

Larson Law represents clients in slip and fall injuries.

However, these cases are difficult to bring in Utah. Some people believe that all that is necessary for someone to have a lawsuit is for an injury to occur on someone else’s premises. That is not true! Utah law explains that a victim of a slip-and-fall event can recover only with one of three options:

First, the business, homeowner or landlord has a permanently unsafe condition due to having chosen a mode of operation that foreseeably could result in an inherently dangerous condition, or if the premises violate some aspect of the building code that directly led to the unsafe condition.

Second, if there is a temporary unsafe condition created by a business, one of its employees, a homeowner or landlord. Even if the creators did not “know” of the unsafe condition.

Third, the temporary unsafe condition was created by a third party but the business owner, landlord or a homeowner has actual notice of the unsafe condition and has had a reasonable time to fix or correct the condition but has failed to do so. See Jex v. JRA, Inc. dba Hickory Kist Deli, 196 P.3d 576 (Utah 2008).

The most common fact pattern we hear or see is where a customer in a store slips and falls on water or something wet or slippery in the store and injures himself. This might be a good set of facts if the store owner knew of the wet spot and failed to clean it up, or the wet spot was caused or created by one of its own employees. However, if that is not the case, then we probably would decline the opportunity to represent the injured person. It is necessary for us to be able to prove knowledge or notice of the condition or participation by an employee or agent of the store or business before there is a case. The mere occurrence of someone slipping and falling does not automatically allow a claim to be made.

Another common fact pattern is where someone slips on snow or ice on the sidewalk, steps or walkway leading to a home or business establishment. Even if the business owner or homeowner knew of the snow and ice out there, if they can demonstrate that they took “reasonable” precautions to eliminate the snow or ice, there generally is no cause of action. Even if there is some question about this fact, Utah juries are still often very forgiving of the homeowner, business or landlord because, after all, we are located in the Rocky Mountains and snow and ice are a fact of life here. Juries are usually not quick to lay blame at the checkbook of the homeowner or business owner in this kind of case. I have actually had jurors say things like, “Hey, this is Utah. It happens!”

We are currently handling slip and fall cases under a variety of circumstances, and we have been successful with those kinds of cases in the past. However, we are cautious about which kinds of such cases we take. If you have a question about a slip-and-fall case or would like to know whether a condition is something that could lead to a lawsuit, give us a call. We’ll be glad to talk to you about it.

The title “slip-and-fall” is simply a generic reference to what could be labeled “premises liability.” Premises liability takes all forms from drownings in swimming pools to legs being broken due to sticky asphalt crack seal being left in a parking lot. We encourage all homeowners and business owners to take precautions, be careful, and think  “safety!” at every turn. We also encourage everyone to be cautious, watch where you’re going, and watch your step everywhere you go. Most of the time we all go on auto pilot  when we walk through the aisles of a store forgetting that the very nature of the displays are designed to keep our eyes off of the floor and on the goods being sold. So be careful when you shop and as you go about your daily affairs.

 

Facebook and Risky Disclosures

People love Facebook, Twitter and other social-networking websites to share information about their lives with their “friends.” Twitter will help members “share and discover what’s happening, right now anywhere in the world.”

However, many have learned to be careful with what they share online. Opposing lawyers for disputants in personal injury and divorce cases, for instance, are searching the “social landscape” for evidence.

What Kinds?

Diamond jewelry for a girlfriend of a separated husband who claims he has limited marital assets.
Resumes and job applications from a divorcing wife who requested substantial alimony because she was unemployable.
Photos of a mother in a child-custody case who swore she stopped consuming alcohol, holding a beer at a family get-together.
If someone is in an auto accident and is making the claim that they are hurt, insurance companies will search that person’s Facebook page or Twitter feed to see if there are any pictures of them participating in activities that are not typical of someone who is in pain. For instance if someone is undergoing treatment for neck and back pain but has pictures of themselves playing volleyball on vacation, it will severely damage their credibility.

Others watch social networking sites, too. For instance, law enforcement officials scan them to capture wrongdoers who brag about crimes they have committed. Employers scan job applicants’ pages for embarrassing or even incriminating information and photographs. Therefore, always be mindful of what you post on Facebook, especially if involved in litigation.

Even if you are not involved in litigation it is wise to be mindful of what other ramifications the things you put online may have. Frequently employers will monitor employees’ or prospective employees’ Facebook pages. If an employee rants about their coworkers or bosses online, they may have reason to fire them. If they badmouth a former employer, it may be reason enough not to hire them in the first place.

Also on Facebook, check out the Larson Law page for recent news and helpful information. We will try not to post anything that will embarrass or incriminate us later.