Consider if you were just injured in a car wreck. What are your initial instincts? If your reaction was to turn to social media to post about it, you are not the only one. The Pew Research Center found in 2015 that social media programs such as Instagram, Twitter, Yelp, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and Facebook are used by 74 percent of online adults. People usually use words or photos to share personal details for anyone in the public to see. To protect your personal injury claim when you’ve been injured, you should fight the urge if you are tempted to post something online.
A 2015 article that The Huffington Post published stated that the first place that insurance companies usually look when investigating accident and personal injury claims is social media accounts. Insurance companies are specifically going to go straight to your personal accounts to look for conflicting statements, and any other evidence and exaggerations about your case. In personal injury and accident cases, the opposing party will often try to search for posts that undermine your credibility by contradicting the injuries you have claimed that your have. Unless you are careful, the opposing party can use your posts to deny you compensation and discredit your claim.
You may even think your posts are “private,” but an opposing party can still find a way to gain access to your accounts. The best way to protect your case is to deactivate all of your social media accounts. However, to prevent going into a complete social media blackout, there are some things to consider before you post:
1. Posting Your Accident Details
It’s possible that you might have a tendency to want to post about your recovery from an accident, but this could possibly seriously damage your chances of receiving compensation as well as your case as a whole. If you post progress updates to try to calm the nerves of your family and friends, be careful because the insurance company could possibly find these posts and use them to have your claim denied, which could end up costing you thousands of dollars. As a claimant, one of the biggest mistakes you could make is to post a misrepresentation of your recovery or activity level. You should post to social media accounts as if you know that the other side will see it.
2. Posting Videos and Photos of Yourself After an Accident
A picture is worth a thousand words, as the famous saying goes. Let’s say you have claimed that you’ve suffered a severe neck injury. If an insurance agency finds photos of you out at a baseball game or restaurant on your account, or even photos of you doing physical activities like dancing or hiking, they may use these photos to determine the extent of your injuries.
3. Using the “Check In” Feature After Your Car Accident
Just like videos and photos, using location tracking applications on social media to “check in” to social events, movie theaters, and amusement parks may lead insurance companies to think that your injuries are not as serious as you have claimed them to be. You should definitely avoid checking in to places that you should not be at as an injured person. However, the best choice would be to wait until your case gets resolved until you “check in” to any place.
4. Participating in Message Boards and Online Forums
In addition to not posting about your accident and progress on your own accounts, you should also refrain from posting about it on outside blogs and forums. It might feel good to have support from other people who have gone through similar situations, but insurance companies might be able to use the posts against you and might try to negotiate a lower settlement offer.
5. What Shows Up On Google
Looking you up on Google is one of the first things an insurance company will do to try to find things that will damage your case. To find out what insurance adjusters are finding out about you, a good place to start is Googling yourself.
6. Posting High Scores
If you are trying to claim that your injury prevents you from doing even sedentary things, it could mean trouble if you are even posting about new scores you just reached on games like Candy Crush and Angry Birds.
7. Increase Your Privacy Settings
Make sure your share settings are set to the highest privacy level before you post something. However, the other side may still find a way to see your posts even if you’ve increased your privacy settings. A court may still give permission for the other side to access your profile, even through your best tries of taking precautionary steps.
8. Keep A Watch For Fake Friend Requests
It is very simple for an insurance company to make a fake profile using a fake name and then add you as a “friend” with hopes of gaining a quick look of your profile. You should not be accepting friend requests from anyone you do not know and you should be on the lookout for anyone following you when you post account updates.
Overall, it would be the best idea if you just do not post anything at all, that you would not want the other side to see. If you think that posting something might be damaging to your claim, then you most likely should not post it at all. The more you post, the more likely it is that the other side has something they can use against you.
If you aren’t careful, social media can affect your personal injury claim in a negative way. If you are trying to get through a personal injury claim and are wondering if it is being negatively affected by what your are putting on social media, an attorney can help and assist you with protecting it. Contact our experienced Riverside, CA personal injury attorneys today at the Sargent Law Firm Injury Lawyers if you need help with your personal injury lawsuit. Our personal injury and accident law firm focuses on cases involving people who are hurt in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, and other negligence cases. We are always here to review your case for free and let you know what your options are.