For many, social media has become a primary form of communication and the main source of news. In this digital era we live in, it comes as common knowledge that once something is posted online, it typically stays there forever.
Something that many people don’t know is how large of an impact social media may have on their personal injury case.
While you’re in the process of going through a personal injury case you must be sure to do everything in your power to protect yourself, so you have the best chance at receiving the compensation you deserve. This is especially true when it comes to social media, as private investigators and insurance adjusters will use this powerful tool against you in any way possible.
Let’s say you were hurt in an auto accident and you severely injured your back and arm. After some more thought is put into the situation, you end up filing a personal injury claim against the driver. A few weeks after the accident, you post photos of you and your friends out at the beach and there you are smiling as big as ever in the picture.
The defendant’s insurance company gets notice of this image and brings this evidence to court to prove that you clearly aren’t as injured as you claimed—due to the fact that you’re smiling. This picture that you felt was harmless is now a tool that can be used against you, and ultimately reduce the amount of compensation you can receive. Not only does this raise the chance of your claim getting a reduced payout, but it also leaves the possibility that your whole claim was false.
Now, you are not only faced with a reduced payout, but you also may not receive compensation at all, and in some cases, you may even face legal troubles for a false claim report.
Important Tips for Your Protection
To help prevent you from getting your case thrown out due to social media, we have some important tips to keep in mind before posting to social media:
DO NOT post about the accident or any injuries involved. Social media is the place to share your life events with those who follow you. However, posting your injuries and details about the accident will only hinder your case and can be used against you.
Be mindful of the photos you are posting. Whether it is a vacation photo or simply a night out with friends, any inconsistencies between your claim and what is online can and will be used against you. If you state that you have a broken arm from the accident and then are later seen in photos smiling, having a good time, this may be used to prove that you aren’t possibly as hurt as you stated.
Change your privacy settings. Be sure that all of your settings are set to “private” or “friends only.” This will give you extra privacy and prevent your posts from being shown to anyone besides your friends.
Decline random friend requests. If you do not know who is adding you, do not accept! Especially during your personal injury case. Often times insurance adjusters and private investigators will try to friend you on social media to get a deeper look into your life.
Google yourself. The best way to check if any information is out there that may harm your case is to search your name on Google. Anything relating to you, if there is anything, will come up when you do a search on your name. If you find anything that may disprove your claim, be sure to promptly remove.
Removing yourself from the internet in an age that is so dependant on it is something that is hard to do. Which means that unless you go cold turkey with social media, there is no guarantee that nothing will be found against your case.