If you are like many, you probably have a few social media accounts, in fact that may be how you got to this blog. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others have become a place for people to share pictures, family events, what they eat and even very personal information. It is used to complain about experiences and to comment on news events. In fact for some, it is even a rare outlet to vent about employers and family members. In the world of personal injury, taking to social media can be dangerous.
Posting about your injuries on Facebook may lead to a outpour of well-wishes and sympathy, but it can also open you up to potential issues with your claim. There are no laws prohibiting you from posting information about your accident online, but there are also no laws prohibiting insurance companies and other attorneys from gathering that information from your profiles. We have seen time and again examples of how Facebook posts or Tweets have adversely affect a potential claim. There have also been occurrences were information has been brought up in court.
We recommend pausing your social media participation immediately after your accident. The first thing most insurance companies now do is search social media and the internet in general to discover any and all information they can on you. If you have uploaded a picture of yourself after an accident or made a comment about how well you felt that day, be sure to understand that you will see that later during your case.
Never post details about your accident, injuries or your recovery online. It is even suggested that you review your past posts and remove anything that you do not want made public. Insurance companies will search your profile looking for past injuries that will provide them with a method to question your current injuries. A pre-accident comment of a sore back or twisted ankle can be used as evidence that your pain was not solely caused by your accident. This information is not meant to be hidden from the insurance companies; however a casual comment is not medical evidence. Information about pre-existing injuries should only be provided by medical professionals.
Defense Attorney: “So, you are testifying that your injuries prevent you from doing normal activities?”
You, the Accident Victim: “Yes, that is correct.”
Defense: “Can you tell me who is in this picture posted on Facebook washing your car?”
You: “That’s me.”
Defense: “So is washing your car not a ‘normal activity’? No further questions.”
A seemingly innocent picture from Facebook has not put your entire case into question. However, your profile and information may not only be accessible from what you post, rather what your friends and family post as well. So, it is also important to limit posts made by friends and family about your accident or injuries. The information they post can also be gathered by insurance investigators to document the incident and possibly be used later on. Assume anything and everything online will be accessed. Even with increased privacy settings, it is possible for things to be viewed.
Once again, it is best to just take a break from social media after your accident. Although, we can never promise that you will be fully protected, it is best to have a full grasp of what insurance companies and their attorneys have access to. You do not want a surprise in court like my example. Taking steps to limit access to your information is always in your best interest, whether you are in a car accident or not. If you have questions on how you can increase your privacy settings on Facebook, review the information found here.
The Miley Legal Group takes pride in providing access to information on accident cases. We work hard to protect our clients and others from being taken advantage of by insurance companies and their attorneys. If you have any questions or if you would like to discuss your case, please contact our office by phone or through the “Contact Us” tab on this page.