Social Slip-Ups: Think About Your Injury Case Before You Post That Status Update

Law Blog

When you're pursuing a personal injury case, it's important to be prepared for as much defense as offense in terms of presenting your case and negotiating. Many times, insurance companies will turn to social media as part of their investigative process when trying to decide whether or not to pay your claim. As a result, it's important that you understand how to handle your social media accounts in the wake of an injury, and what they're likely to be looking for. Here are some tips to protect your online presence and the integrity of your claim.

Stay Away from the Delete Key

Chances are that you've probably been active on some social media platforms for a very long time, and there's probably a lot of personal information on your profile. Whether the account is public or private, deleting information after you file your claim is going to appear suspicious to the investigators. In fact, if the insurance company has found the information and can show that you deleted it after the fact, it may be enough documentation to claim that you've falsified your claim.

Before you purge anything from your social media accounts, talk with your personal injury lawyer. Explain any concerns you have about the content on the site, and ask for guidance. The more your attorney knows from the beginning, the better equipped he or she will be to negotiate on your behalf. After all, you want to avoid surprises at the settlement table.

Saying Nothing is Better Than Saying the Wrong Thing

Don't discuss the injury case on your social media account. Avoid talking about the accident, your discussions with your attorney or any progress in negotiations. If you want to share information with family, do so in person, not online. Remember that anything you post online may be accessed by the insurance company, so be selective about what you say.

This also means that you shouldn't post anything after the accident – even something that seems innocuous, like telling your loved ones that you are going to be okay. A statement like that can be used by the insurance company to claim that your injuries aren't as severe as you're claiming.

Consider Your Audience and Choose Them Carefully

Posts that you might consider to be innocent may be misinterpreted by a party who is trying to settle your personal injury claim. For example, you may think that posting pictures of the Fourth of July barbecue at your in-laws is innocent enough, pictures of you partying or in the swimming pool can be used as evidence that the injury isn't affecting your quality of life. Make sure that your friends understand this as well so that they do not post images of you online that could jeopardize your case.

With so many concerns about social media usage and the increase in investigations of social accounts during personal injury cases, it's important that you are attentive to how you use your social media accounts and who can see your information. If you've been injured, talk with your attorney about your social media activities to find out how you should proceed.


2 April 2015