Millions of people use Facebook, Twitter, and a host of other social media apps on a daily basis. While social media is a great tool for sharing with friends and keeping up with the latest events, it can also be the one thing that puts your personal injury case in jeopardy. If you're wondering how a single post or shared picture could sink your personal injury claim, then you'll definitely want to read on.
How the Defense Sees Social Media
Insurance companies are always looking for an edge when it comes to fighting against personal injury claims. This has led insurance companies to adopt a wide variety of tactics to gather evidence that could ultimately disprove a claim. For instance, they may hire private investigators to quietly monitor those who've made personal injury claims in hopes of unearthing evidence that could lead to a favorable judgment.
Insurance companies see social media as a rather powerful tool that could work in their favor without its users realizing it. Given the literal treasure trove of easily attainable information shared by millions of people across the country, it's not difficult for investigators to find pictures or video footage that could ultimately bring your personal injury claim into question.
What Investigators Are Looking For
When investigators comb through your social media posts, they're looking for just about anything that could be used as evidence against your personal injury claim. For instance, investigators may search your social media page for photos showing you engaged in an ordinary activity that suggests you're not in as much pain as you claim, even if actually performing that activity proves exceptionally painful. These activities could even include things like bending over to pick up a newspaper or carrying a small pack of soda to your home.
Even the most innocent images and actions could be used to discredit and ultimately disprove your claims. Here are a few common activities that could be used as evidence against your personal injury claim, despite their innocuousness:
- You post photos of yourself enjoying an activity that'd normally be limited by injury, even if you're just a spectator.
- You make a brief tweet or post that inadvertently downplays your pain.
- Your app automatically updates your timeline at a place where strenuous activity takes place (such as a roller skating rink or bowling alley).
- None of the photos in your social media timeline suggest that you are any pain whatsoever.
How You Can Protect Yourself
The easiest thing you can do shortly after filing your personal injury claim is to give your social media accounts a break. In other words, you should avoid updating your social media accounts and profiles for the duration of the case. Going cold turkey when it comes to social media can help you avoid posting any information that could be used against you during your case.
However, giving up social media can be difficult for some people. If you're one of the many who just can't stay away from social media, there's plenty you can do to limit your legal exposure:
- Members only - Consider limiting access to your social media page or profile to trusted friends and family only.
- Avoid the details - Refrain from talking about or posting pictures and footage related to the accident and the injuries you sustained.
- Vet your timeline - Take an in-depth look through your timeline and remove or make private any posts that could be used against you, even if they seem relatively minor.
- Inform your friends - Let your friends know that they shouldn't post anything that could derail your claim, either on your social media pages or theirs.
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