Social media, such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, can be helpful tools to connect with old friends and family.
Those platforms can also kill your injury claim.
A client recently consulted with our office about a car accident in which she was injured. It was a moderately high-speed collision, and her car was “totaled”. She suffered significant injuries as well, a herniated disc in her neck which was causing numbness and weakness in her hands and arms.
Upon taking the case, Behrends Law conducted our customary social media investigation. We found photos of our client hiking, playing in a rec league softball game, and even short videos of her singing along to songs in the car – while she was driving. We instructed the client to remove the content or make her profiles private because, you guessed it, insurance adjusters will do all they can to minimize your injuries, thus minimizing your settlement.
Here are three tips to consider related to social media when pursuing an injury claim:
- Make your profile private. The best course is to simply delete or deactivate your account while your case is ongoing. We understand that can be a bit extreme, however.
At least ensure your account is private if you are pursuing a claim. Insurance adjusters, opposing attorneys, and even defendants themselves often scour Instagram and Facebook for anything to contradict or minimize the injuries or pain from which you are suffering. This means that if you were in an accident in June, but you post pictures of the golf trip you took in July, rest assured the insurance company will say, “She wasn’t even hurt bad enough to miss her golf trip. Doesn’t seem like she was hurt that bad.”
- Discussing your claim or allowing others to discuss your claim. Again, insurance adjusters and opposing counsel will use anything and everything they can to minimize your suffering. Online posts can be misconstrued, and once it is posted, it can be saved, blown up, and used as an exhibit that hurts your claim. Most people you communicate online with about your accident can be called as witnesses at trial. Even seemingly innocuous information can be twisted and used against you.
- Accepting new or unknown friends during the claims process. It is not uncommon for private investigators employed by an opposing attorney or insurance company to create fake accounts and add a client as a “friend” during the claim process. They do this to try get information about your arguments, which gives them an advantage at trial.