Top 5 Ways Using Social Media Can Hurt Your Personal Injury Claim
Many people post information about every area of their lives on social media. It allows you to stay in contact with friends and family members around the world. After your accident, you may naturally turn to social media to keep all of your followers updated about your prognosis. You might share photos of your injuries, talk about the accident, and give vital information about your recovery.
Unfortunately, when you’re filing a personal injury claim, your social media posts could damage your claim and impact the compensation you ultimately receive for your injuries. Consider these common challenges social media can pose as you move forward with your claim.
1. You may inadvertently share something that the other party’s insurance company perceives as accepting liability for the accident.
You put up a post that says, “Man, I wish I had looked a second time before I went through that intersection.” You respond to a friend’s comment of, “Trust you to end up in trouble on X street! You’re always speeding!” With the equivalent of, “I know, right?” As you share more details about the accident, however, you may find that other parties, including the insurance company, do not take your posts the way you intended. In fact, they may see those posts as accepting partial or full liability for the accident. You may later have to contest that evidence that you have provided in court–and it may end up ultimately decreasing the compensation you receive.
2. You accept a friend request from someone you don’t really know.
After your accident, you may receive an influx of friend requests from people who claim they want to follow your progress. They may want to see how you’re doing or “keep you in their prayers.” As a result, you may find yourself hitting “accept” on whatever friend requests come your way, assuming that they found you by taking a look at your story.
Some of those friend requests, however, may come from someone who doesn’t have a vested interest in wishing you well–but who, instead, is coming to your social media page to find evidence against you or against your personal injury claim. Once you accept that friend request, that person has full access to everything on your page, from your updates about your condition to any past information you may have shared. As a result, the insurance company that covers the liable party may use that information against you in the courtroom.
3. You may inadvertently brush off the challenges you now face when talking to friends and loved ones.
“Oh, I’m doing fine.” “Yeah, everything is healing great!” “I expect to be back to my job any day now!” You may downplay the challenges associated with your injuries when talking to friends and loved ones. You might not want their sympathy. You might know that some family members will worry more than you like if you share information about your condition. You may simply want your followers and friends to see you as “tough,” rather than thinking that you constantly whine about your accident and your condition.
To an insurance company that must pay out following a substantial accident, however, those statements might sound like you letting them off the hook for your injuries. After all, if you’re recovering fine or have not suffered as much as you claim as part of your personal injury lawsuit, the insurance company should not have to pay out, right? Ultimately, that may mean that the insurance company will not pay out the full compensation you deserve for your injuries.
4. You post photos of you having fun and going about your usual daily activities.
You may have, in the past, used your social media accounts to document all the most fun moments in your life, from the travels you’ve taken to days hanging out with friends. After your accident, you may want to continue to take those photos and share that information. Unfortunately, insurance companies may deny or devalue your claim after seeing those photos. They see only the snapshots: the moment in which you’re having fun, not the price you paid to be there with your friends or the fact that you had to leave early because of pain from your injuries. Worse, they may claim that if you were as injured as you claim, you should be at home recovering, not out at the lake, hitting a local concert, or traveling with friends and loved ones.
To you, those photos may be evidence of a return to normalcy or of your determination in spite of your injuries. To the insurance company, however, they may be evidence against you.
5. You go back and delete posts about the accident later, which could indicate that you have something to hide.
You already posted content about your accident on social media. After hearing that you shouldn’t post that information, you go back and delete it in the hopes that it won’t act against you later. Unfortunately, the insurance company may use the fact that you deleted your posts as further evidence against you. After all, why would you delete it if you didn’t have something to hide? In general, you should leave posts that you’ve already made–but avoid posting anything further about the accident.
Often, after a serious accident, it’s best to take a social media hiatus: to avoid posting, not only content related to the accident, but anything at all. By dropping off of social media until your personal injury claim concludes, you can avoid the chance that anything you post will be used against you later. You may also want to ask friends to avoid posting any photos of you or information about you until you have concluded your personal injury claim.
Do you need help navigating your personal injury claim or managing the challenges that go along with it, including the things you should avoid posting on social media after your accident? Gina Corena & Associates can help. Contact us today at 702-680-1111 to schedule a free consultation.