Around 45 percent of the world’s population (3.5 billion people) use social media daily. In our digitally-soaked world, social media has become a fundamental part of our lives, helping us engage with each other, love, create, and discuss important topics in our lives. In fact, 71 percent of people in the United States receive news directly from social media. So, it’s not too surprising that many people choose to use social media to discuss their daily problems or life issues. But what happens when a social media post comes back to bite you?
If you’ve been injured in an accident or as a result of negligence, a simple social media post could jeopardize your entire case. Believe it or not, defense attorneys regularly scour through social media to bolster their case, and a simple post taken out of context could have serious ramifications in the courtroom. Here’s what you need to know about the use of social media during a personal injury claim.
The Dangers of Social Media and Personal Injury Claims
When something happens in our lives, our first instinct is to share it with family and friends on social media. So, when we’re injured, it’s very tempting to quickly make a post about it to inform everyone about your situation. But that’s not always a good idea. As soon as you start a personal injury case, your social media becomes the subject of speculation. Defense attorneys can (and probably will) scour your social media account for any mention of the injury or your personal life. For example, let’s say you make a post about gardening two weeks after you injured your leg in an accident. You may have been forced to use a walker. But if you didn’t mention that in the post, the defense attorney may attempt to use that post to prove you can still walk and perform daily functions.
In fact, defense attorneys aren’t the only people scouring your social media accounts. Claims adjusters for insurance companies also regularly review social media posts during the claims process. So, that seemingly innocent social media post can cost you big with your insurance or in your personal injury claim.
Tips to Help Prevent Social Media From Impacting Your Personal Injury Claim
Avoid Posting Any Content Surrounding Your Injury or Anything Related to Your Injury
Never post anything relating to your injury or your current health status. It’s tempting to immediately tell your friends and family of any new injuries, but it’s always best to tell them in person — not over social media. While this rule seems straightforward, it’s a little more complicated than it seems on the surface. Attorneys and insurance adjusters will relate nearly anything you post on social media to your injury. So, let’s say you make a simple post about your trip to the grocery store. The post reads something like this:
“Just got back from Whole Foods, saw these awesome new chips walking down the snack aisle. You all need to try them!”
That post may seem innocent, but it says more than you think. The mere fact you walked down the aisle and felt excitement could be used against you in an injury claim — especially one related to a foot or leg injury. In general, you should avoid posting any content about:
- Your injury
- Your health status
- Your recovery
- Your social life
- Your case
Of course, it’s not always easy to predict how insurance adjusters will perceive posts. So, you need to go above and beyond simply reducing the types of content you post. You need to ensure the wrong people aren’t reading your social media account.
Configure Your Privacy Settings
During your case, you should set all of your social media accounts to private (i.e., limited visibility). Unfortunately, some insurance adjusters may attempt to bypass this using third-party connections (which is currently legal), but robust privacy settings will prevent the majority of snoopers. For extra security, you should follow the other steps below.
Don’t Add Anyone You Don’t Know
You may be in the habit of adding anyone to your friend’s list. After all, social media is an outlet to forge friendships, spark conversations, and get to know unique and awesome people. However, you should avoid adding anyone you aren’t familiar with during your case. Any new friend requests could come from insurance adjusters looking to bypass your privacy settings.
Never “Check-In” With Your Friends
Insurance adjusters and attorneys regularly hire private investigators to verify claims. While these investigators can already park outside your house and watch you perform any outside duties, they can also follow you around in public. But only if they know where you’re going. Unfortunately, many people use social media to “check-in” at various locations. You should avoid this practice for overall safety reasons, but you should be extra careful during injury cases. Adjusters may use that data to figure out where you’re located.
Talk to Your Family & Friends About Their Posting Habits
According to research, 88 percent of people believe others overshare on social media. Even if you avoid posting anything relating to your injury or social life, your friends or family may make posts about you in your absence. Talk to your friends and family about their posting habits, and attempt to convince them to avoid posting about you during this time period. If you feel like a friend overshares regularly, it may be a good idea to avoid discussing your injury with them in general.
Get Help With Your Personal Injury Case
The truth is: there are a variety of best practices that can strengthen your case and prevent adjusters and attorneys from using out-of-context situations against you. Contact us at Alvendia, Kelly & Demarest to discuss the next steps you should take on your personal injury case. If you were injured as a result of an accident, we might be able to help. At AKD, we take every case personally, and we fight to get our clients the compensation they rightfully deserve. Contact us at 504-200-0000 or online for a free consultation. You need someone in your corner. We’re here for you.