While social media, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat and LinkedIn, among others, has become a hugely popular digital forum to share your thoughts and moments of your life with friends, family and other connections, there are risks.
People still don’t realize that once something is “out there,” it’s out there forever, and regardless of your settings and your attempts to protect your privacy, it’s safe to assume that when you post something on a social media platform, it becomes public immediately, and the rest of the world, even people you don’t know or want to connect with, can see your life in pictures, videos, comments, status updates, tags, and check ins.
No one who uses social media should ever have any expectation of privacy, and you must assume that anything you post, or anything posted by someone else that references you, can be used against you at a later date. That is the reality of social media, and it may also be the tool that insurance company adjusters and lawyers use to avoid paying or minimizing the payout for a personal injury claim.
Social Media and Personal Injury Cases
Social media, especially Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, can provide a very clear view of your life, including what you do, where you go, who you’re with and even how you feel.
If you are in the midst of a personal injury claim and are seeking payment for medical bills and compensation for pain and suffering, you should avoid sharing moments of your life on social media and ask friends and family to avoid including you in any posts while your case is pending.
While it seems pretty obvious that you shouldn’t post about a trip to your favorite amusement park, or how you just hiked your favorite trail, there are more subtle ways you can be “caught” doing activities you claim to be unable to do.
If you are tagged in a post or if you comment on someone else’s post, you are providing information about yourself that can be used against you. For instance, commenting to a friend something so simple as, “Dude! I love that rollercoaster. I just rode it the other day!” tells the world that a few days ago you were well enough to ride a rollercoaster—an activity that a person who is suffering from certain debilitating injuries might not be unable to enjoy.
Even if you did not post pictures of yourself at the amusement park, one little comment like that to someone you’re connected with could cause your personal injury claim to crumble.
Regardless of the fact that someone else caused your injuries, regardless of the actual severity of your injuries and regardless of how much money you lost from not working, if one of your posts or comments creates doubt as to the severity of your injuries, it can have a negative impact on your claim.
The best advice is to go off the grid while your case is pending, and reach out to your friends and loved ones and ask them to not include you in any posts. You’d be surprised at how easy it is for insurance company lawyers to find evidence that throws doubt on the validity or severity of your injuries—evidence that the injuries and expenses listed in the claim are not as bad as the claimant makes them out to be. Don’t help them out.