Social Media's Effect on Personal Injury Claims

Most of our cell phones are only an arm’s length away at any given time. Within seconds we can be connected to the outside world through the web – and typically social media. But what many people fail to realize is that using social media oftentimes means others are connected to us as well.

Have you ever wondered how this could affect your personal injury claim? Many people today never give a second thought to sharing details of their personal lives with the world through various social media outlets. In many cases, when a personal injury claim in filed, insurance companies and investigators may seek to again access into your social media accounts and could use it against you.

Everything posted to the web is considered public information and records can be traced back to authors even if a post or picture has been deleted. It is important to be careful what you post after an accident. Comments that may seem too happy post-accident can be used against you by the defense attorney. Participating in pictures, videos and other activities could be presented as evidence of lack of injury and could potentially hurt your case. So what are social media best practices? We’ve compiled a list of do’s and don’ts when it comes to your personal injury claim and social media activity.

  1. Do not post about the incident

Do not post anything pertaining to the incident. Do not respond to inquiries about the accident or the treatment you’re receiving because of the accident.

  1. Deactivate or discontinue the use of all social media accounts

If you are serious about filing a personal injury claim, the best thing to do is deactivate your social media accounts. Make sure there is nothing posted about your accident or how you are feeling after your accident.

  1. Update your privacy settings

If you aren’t willing to deactivate your account, we recommend updating your privacy settings to the highest level possible. This means only those you’ve added as friends can see what you post, as opposed to the general public. Although this method isn’t foolproof, it does help keep things private from others. A tool often used for this in Facebook is the “view as” feature, which allows you to specifically outline who sees your profile and posts. Be sure to check your settings for any privacy updates that may become available over time.

  1. Messages

Do not send text messages, emails, or “private” social media messages regarding your accident, case, overall well-being or activities at any point. Only speak to your lawyer about the details of your treatment or status to ensure complete privacy.

  1. Beware of friends posting about you

It’s safer to assume that an insurance company can access your friends’ social media accounts – so information they post about you could be used against you. Others can tag you in images and posts, as well as “check you in” to locations – all of which may depict you being active. These types of things can unknowingly harm your claim. Your privacy settings can be updated to battle this issue as well, by disabling the ability for others to tag you in posts or check-ins.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to absolutely ensure your social media accounts not be used against you by insurance companies and opposing parties. But based on previous experience representing victims whose social media accounts have been accessed as evidence against their claims, we urge all victims to take precautions. Anything that could assist in limiting negative evidence can only benefit your chances of a successful resolution. The only way to truly ensure your social media accounts do not affect your personal injury claim is to avoid the use of social media entirely.

If you or a loved one have questions regarding a social media account and how it may relate to your personal injury claim, please give us a call at 770-427-5498.