Can Posting on Facebook Hurt My Personal Injury Claim?
If you had to guess, how many of your Facebook posts are happy and positive? How many are negative? Do you post a lot of pictures with friends and family, or do you talk a lot about the problems going on in your life?
If you’re like most people, social media is the “highlight reel” of your life. That means you mostly post fun, exciting, or cool things you’ve got going on—and post the bad stuff less often.
While normally there’s nothing wrong with posting the good stuff, it can be disastrous during a personal injury claim!
Yes, posting on Facebook could hurt your personal injury claim. Unconvinced? Keep reading to learn why it pays to be cautious online.
How Facebook Impacts Your Claim
Insurance companies and their lawyers can—and do—use social media as evidence against personal injury claimants. They are looking for fraud—people making a personal injury claim based on injuries they don’t have, or that aren’t as bad as they claimed. In addition, they are also looking for evidence that the injuries were the fault of the victim, not the defending party.
Unfortunately—because social media doesn’t tell the whole story—a few seemingly “harmless” Facebook posts can result in a denied claim.
What kind of posts can jeopardize your claim? Here are a few examples:
- Status updates or comments talking about how great you’re doing, or discussing a physical activity you did recently
- Photos or videos of you doing physical activities (especially physically intensive activities that shouldn’t be possible with injuries)
- Status updates or comments that downplay or exaggerate your condition (both of which make you seem untruthful)
It’s important to remember that what you post on social media can look bad to investigators, even if there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation. For example, you might be trying not to worry friends or family. You might not want to post the negative things that are happening in your life, or how hard it is to deal with your injury. But to an insurance company lawyer, it just looks like fraud. (Remember: they’d rather it be fraud, or your fault, so that they don’t have to pay you!)
What to Do About Social Media During Your Claim
Any good Cincinnati personal injury lawyer will recommend that you stay cautious on social media while your claim is ongoing.
Your best bet would be to take down your social media pages, if possible. For example, it’s possible to “deactivate” your Facebook account for a certain time period. This doesn’t delete your account; when your case is finished, you can log back in to your account to reactivate it.
If you can’t take down your accounts, the next best thing to do is to make them private. Many people have their profiles and posts set to public by default. If you’ve never taken a look at your privacy settings before, now’s the time to do so. Make sure your accounts are private. Then, take a look at each profile’s privacy settings.
For example, on Facebook, you can choose to share future posts with the public, your entire friend list, or just a handful of select people. (Obviously, the last option is the most private of the three.) If your profile was previously public, you can also set the “Limit Past Posts” privacy setting to “Friends Only.”
That being said, it’s important to remember one thing: setting your account and posts to private doesn’t guarantee your privacy. For example, you might share a photo of yourself and a family member on Facebook. Your family member loves that photo, so they share it on their profile. If their profile isn’t private, that photo you shared is now public. Kind of alarming, right?
Social Media Dos and Don’ts
If you must use social media during your personal injury claim, there are a few things to remember.
- Do be critical of everything you post, whether it’s a picture or text. Think about how the post might look out of context and what it would be like to have to explain yourself to the opposition’s lawyer.
- Don’t post at all about your injury or claim. Insurance agents and lawyers can’t tell through text if you’re venting, joking, or being sarcastic. To them, it might look like you’re exaggerating or faking your injuries—like fraud! Also, don’t post about your claim or send texts or emails about your claim to anyone but your Cincinnati personal injury lawyer.
- Do let your friends and family know that you’d appreciate them not sharing your posts during your claim.
- Don’t re-post photos from before your injury. Facebook’s “Memories” feature allows you to walk down memory lane. It shows you posts and photos from years ago and encourages you to share them again. Don’t do it! Photos of you hiking, parasailing, or doing other physical activity can make it seem like you are faking your injuries, if those photos don’t have a time stamp.
Call a Cincinnati Personal Injury Lawyer
If you’ve been injured because of another person’s negligence, we can help.
The Cincinnati personal injury lawyers at Casper & Casper have years of experienced and knowledge to put to work for you. Contact us today to discuss your case.
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