If you have been injured in an accident, you will likely file a claim to recover compensation. Once your claim has been filed, however, you may face an uphill battle to win an appropriate settlement. Until your claim has been settled, it is likely that you will be under scrutiny by the defendant’s insurance company. One way that insurance companies may monitor you is by looking at your social media accounts for evidence that your injuries aren’t as serious as you have claimed. How can your social media use harm your claim?
Contradicting Your Injuries
If you have a claim for a back injury, but are posting photos of your recent vacation, insurance companies may doubt the validity of your injuries. If you are awaiting the resolution of an injury claim, even simple activities, like meeting with friends, can cause insurance companies to challenge the severity of your injuries.
Reducing Your Non-Economic Damages
When you are fighting for you settlement, it is likely that you will also claim non-economic damages as compensation for your emotional distress, physical pain, and mental trauma. If you claim to suffer from anxiety or depression after your accident, but there are photographs of you engaged in social activities or evidence that your quality and enjoyment of life has not diminished, insurance companies may argue that your non-economic damages should be reduced.
Non-economic damages can be difficult to prove. Insurance companies often will attack these claims, since they are highly subjective and difficult to document. It can be easy to discredit your non-economic damages with your social media activity, however.
Comments and Updates
What your write online is just as important as the photos you post. Until your settlement is resolved, it’s best to avoid discussing your case. Concerned friends and family may post messages asking how you are doing, but your response can jeopardize your claim. Even something as simple as, “Slowly getting better” can be enough for insurance companies to argue that your injuries are not as serious as claimed. Let your loved ones know that you can’t discuss your case until it is finished.
How to Protect Your Claim
It’s best to avoid social media while your case is ongoing, but if you can’t remain offline, you can take steps to reduce your social media presence while protecting your claim.
Here are some tips to help you:
- Always assume that anything you post will be seen by insurance companies.
- Do not accept friend requests from people you do not know well, as investigators may try to access your social media by adding you as a friend.
- Do not rely on privacy settings alone to protect you. Social media companies may be subpoenaed to provide your data.
- Do not delete posts without consulting your attorney. This can lead to accusations of altering or destroying evidence.
- Ask friends not to tag you in photos without your consent.
- Do not post updates or answer questions about your accident, injuries, recovery, or case.
- Do not check in to public places, such as restaurants, clubs, sporting events, or other locations that are not your home.
Your personal injury lawyer can help you navigate your social media usage and your case. If you are in doubt whether a post will harm your claim or not, consult your attorney. They can help you protect your claim, and will help you find ways you can maximize your settlement.
Our Worcester personal injury attorneys can help you navigate the legal complexities of your personal injury case. The team at Law Office of Robert W. Kovacs, Jr. is committed to offering our clients effective, aggressive legal strategies with a client-centered approach. Contact our offices for a case evaluation by calling (508) 926-8833.