Social media has become a primary form of communication for many, as well as an outlet for getting news, information and more. Most of us know that once you post something online, it’s nearly impossible to get rid of or keep under wraps.
One thing many of us may not know, though, is how much our posts could affect a personal injury case.
If you’re in the middle of a personal injury lawsuit following a car accident or other type of accident, you need to make sure you’re protecting yourself, especially on social media. Insurance adjusters, insurance investigators and attorneys can Google your information and use social media posts and pictures found online against you and your case.
For example, let’s say you are injured in an auto accident and severely fractured your arm. You’ve decided to sue the other driver for compensation. Several weeks or months after the crash, you upload a picture of yourself with friends or family on vacation and you are grinning from ear to ear in the photo. The other driver’s insurance company involved in the lawsuit sees that photo and brings it to court to prove that you aren’t as injured as you claim. The insurance company can essentially use that seemingly harmless picture as evidence against you in court to reduce your compensation amount. Even worse, they may attempt to make the case that your entire claim is false. Now, not only are you facing reduced compensation, but also the potential legal punishments for filing a bad claim.
Making Sure You’re Protected
Here are five important tips to avoid possible hang-ups with your case due to social media:
- Don’t post about your injuries or accident. As hard as it can be, avoid posting anything about your injuries, your recovery, or details about the accident. These are all things that might be used against you if any inconsistencies are found between what you’ve told the insurance company and the info in those posts.
- Be very selective about posting any photos of yourself. If you had, say, a broken collar bone and you or one of your friends posted a picture of you smiling while you enjoy a night out, an insurance attorney could take those photos and use them to build a case against you for fraudulent claims. In their mind, if you’re able to go out and are having a good time, you may not be as injured as you say. At the very least, this type of post could reduce the amount of compensation you receive and you may not have enough to cover your medical bills.
- Avoid accepting friend requests from strangers. A lot of dishonest insurance adjusters, investigators or attorneys will try to add you as a friend on Facebook when they’re gathering information, so only accept friend requests from people you know.
- Adjust your privacy settings.Make sure all of your social media posts are set to “friends only” or “private” and not “public.” This will keep your posts from being seen by anyone and everyone that looks you up. Sometimes even the private posts can be accessed and used, but adjusting the settings will minimize the likelihood.
- Do a Google search on yourself. An easy way to tell what type of information someone can find and use in your case is to Google your name. Make sure that the results that come up are all things that won’t harm your personal injury case. If anything has to the potential to do so, remove it or make the post private.
It’s difficult to totally remove yourself from the internet, so there’s no guarantee that nothing will be found to use against your case. However, taking careful precautions and doing the best you can to avoid adding fuel to the fire will definitely help.
If you have questions about your social media activity and how it can affect your personal injury case, contact Mack Babcock and The Babcock Law Firm today to discuss how we can help make sure you’re protected and get the compensation you deserve.