Imagine yourself if you were just in a car accident and got injured. What is your initial thought? You’re not alone if your reaction was to post to social media about it. It has been found in 2015 by the Pew Research Center that of the online adults, 74 percent of them use social media programs such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Yelp, Snapchat, and Instagram. A lot of times people share personal details for anyone in the public to view through photos or words. You may be tempted to post to social media when you’re injured, but you should try to resist the urge for the sake of protecting your personal injury claim.
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. The opposing party in an accident or personal injury case will try to search through your posts to find something that contradicts your claimed injuries and your credibility would be undermined. Unless you are careful, the opposing party can use your posts to deny you compensation and discredit your claim.
You may think that your posts are “private, but an opposing party could still possibly find a way to gain access to your accounts. The best thing for you to do to protect your case is to deactivate your social media accounts. However, there are things to consider before you post if you do not want to go into a social media blackout:
1. Posting Details of Your Accident
You may have a natural habit of wanting to post about your accident and recovery, but this could cause serious damage to your case and chances of getting compensation for your claim. 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 with the mindset that the other side will directly see it.
2. Posting Photos and Videos of Yourself After a Car Wreck
There’s a famous saying that goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Say that you have claimed that you’ve suffered a severe neck injury. An insurance can use photos on your account to question the full extent of your injuries if they see some of you doing physical activities like dancing and hiking, or even being out at a restaurant or baseball game.
3.” Checking In to Places After Your Car Wreck
Just like with photos and videos, “checking in” or using other social media applications with location tracking capabilities to tag when you’re at the movies, amusement parks, or any other social gatherings, can lead an insurance company to believe that your claimed injuries aren’t as serious or severe as you’ve stated they were. You should make sure you never check in to any place that an injured person would not be at in the first place. 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 Discussions
Apart from discontinuing posts about your injuries and accidents on your own accounts, you should refrain from posting about your injuries and accidents on outside sources like blogs and forums, too. 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. On the other hand, it is important to know that making your settings private may not prevent the other side from finding a way to see your posts. A court could still even give the other side permission to access your profile even through your best efforts to be precautionary.
8. Fake Friend Requests Are Possible
In hopes of gaining quick access to your profile, an insurance company can very easily create a fake account under a pseudonym and add you as a “friend.” 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.
A good overall rule of thumb you should use is just to not post anything that you wouldn’t want the other side to see. If there is any question in your mind if it would hurt your case to post something, then it would most likely be best to not post it at all. The other side will have more ammunition to use against you if you post a lot of things.
Be careful, or your personal injury claim can be negatively affected by social media. If you need help with a personal injury claim and are curious if what you put on social media could harm your case, an experienced South Carolina attorney can help you with protection of your claim. If you need an experienced personal injury attorney, contact The Jeffcoat Firm right away.