To say that the world has changed immeasurably since Steve Jobs first walked across a stage in California and introduced the iPhone to the world is, at this point, likely somewhat of an understatement. But out of all the things that the mobile revolution has brought with it, perhaps none have had greater impact than social media.
Social networking sites existed prior to smartphones, to be fair, but the fact that people were suddenly connected to one another all day, every day caused these types of sites to take a colossal leap forward. Flash forward to today and there are billions of users all over the world, sharing every minute of every day with a global audience. It’s fun and certainly a bit addicting to know that your voice is suddenly amplified to that magnitude… but at the same time, if you have a personal injury claim you may want to think twice before you run to Facebook and Twitter.
Social Media and Personal Injury Claims: Breaking Things Down
The main thing to understand about all of this is that the Internet isn’t written in pencil, it’s written in ink. That is to say, what you post online will probably live there forever – and it will have a date and timestamp, along with a geo tag, associated with it.
This means that if you file an insurance claim and the insurance company contests it, the first thing they’re going to try to do is prove that you were never actually seriously injured in the first place. Most of these companies have teams of people who will pour over every last element of your social media – from statuses to photos and videos and more.
They’ll compare dates and times to find photos taken after your injury and absolutely anything that shows you engaged in some type of physical activity will likely be used against you. If you say that you were so injured you cannot go into work but you CAN head out on that weekend hiking excursion with your significant other, the insurance company is going to see that as a discrepancy. Even the type of content that you like could be used to show that you’re not actually suffering from emotional distress in the way you claim you are.
As a rule of thumb, never post anything related to either A) the accident that caused you to file your claim, or B) the claim itself. This includes but is certainly not limited to:
- The circumstances in which you were injured.
- The specific injuries you sustained.
- Any treatment that you’re going through.
- Any excitement about the amount of money you could receive as the result of the claim.
- Anything you were told by your attorney (and especially anything your attorney told you NOT to post).
Can social media be used against my personal injury claim?
Social media can be used against your personal injury claim. It can provide evidence that you were not as seriously hurt as claimed. Or, that you have not undergone the treatment regimes stated. Possibly, even to prove that the accident did not happen as you have stated. Therefore, any experienced personal injury claim lawyer will advise their clients not to share any accident-related details online. That includes expressing excitement about how much your claim could be worth.
Is it against the law to post about my personal injury on social media?
It is not against the law to post about your personal injury on social media. But it is very unwise to do so. People who have done so have ended up scuppering their chances of winning their case. Sometimes by inadvertently providing evidence that they were not as seriously injured as first claimed. Others have become angry with the other party that they blame for the accident and ended up being sued after making defamatory statements.
In what ways can an insurance company contest my personal injury claim?
Insurance companies will look at all of the evidence that is available to them to find ways to contest your personal injury claim. They may use photos or witness statements to cast doubt on your account of the accident. Or use what your physician or employer tells them to state that your injuries are not as serious as you have claimed. The insurance company aims to keep the amount they payout to a minimum. That is why you need to hire a legal professional.