An accident can happen anytime and anywhere no matter how careful you are. Certain incidents result in injuries and when this happens, we mostly rely on our insurance companies or that of a third party for an injury claim. But do you also know your posts on social media can jeopardize your claims?
Social media has grown to become one of the best platforms to socialize, share information, and learn.
Almost 80 percent of the US population has a social media account. As such, most of us use various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Whatsapp to share daily life activities with family and friends. We share photos and videos of the places we visit and the beautiful and horrible things happening around us. We vent our anger about things that are not going right in our countries and the poor service we encountered with a company.
But like a double-edged sword, social media also comes with its good, bad, and ugly experiences.
The bottom line is that the more information you share, the riskier it becomes. The fact is what you share on social media can have the potential to even affect your injury claim.
Therefore, be very careful about your postings on social media especially if you have suffered injuries from an accident and expecting an injury claim. Remember that whatever you post can be used against you in the future. Now, here are 5 ways your post on social media can harm your injury claim.
1. Your Insurance Company is Watching You
Social media is global, so anyone anywhere can access the information you post. Also, everything you post there becomes public information and anyone can use it including your insurance company. They don’t have to be in your friend's circles to do this.
Insurance companies as business entities try every means to reduce the claims they have to pay. Some even use clauses and technicalities to avoid paying anything. This is why you need to be very careful about what you post on social media. So let’s say you had an accident and afterward decided to share photos of the accident scenes and injuries you incurred with friends on social media. A smart insurance company that wants to avoid paying more can use these photos against you by proving your injuries are not as severe as you claim.
For example, you had a fractured leg during the accident and therefore added to your claim that you could hardly walk. Meanwhile, you later post a picture or video of you playing football or running after your children at home. Your insurer can potentially use this as evidence to tear apart your claim. This piece of evidence can hugely affect your application.
2. How an Insurance Company can Access Your Post
Social media platforms like Facebook allow you to select the people you want to share particular information with. You have options like sharing with the public, friends only, selected friends or just you. So, let’s say you tagged some particular friends in your accident photos and videos you can choose friends only in the sharing options. However, once you shared with other people no matter how few they were, a third party can get access to these photos.
As you share photos and videos with someone, it becomes public on that person's profile if he/she has no strong privacy settings. Therefore, your insurance company can look through your friends’ photos and select certain pictures you shared with them if they might be incriminating. That aside, someone from your insurance company can send you a friends request, to gain access to things you post. When such a request is accepted, then the person being part of your friends can have access to your posts. These photos and videos can become a strong defense weapon for your insurer in an injury lawsuit. In the end, your own recklessness would hurt your injury claim.
3. If Your Post is Admitted as Evidence in Court
In lawsuits, the rule of the game is evidence. Even though most out of court statements are deemed as hearsay, they can sometimes be admitted as evidence no matter how they were obtained. This can include social media posts in some instances. For example, you said something during your injury trial and later contradict the statement in your Facebook post, the latter statement can be admitted as evidence against you in some courts.
When this happens, the defense lawyer can pick holes in your previous testimonies by questioning its credibility. This can lead to the court dismissing some of your testimonies. Even if you win the case and the insurer later discovers you made statements deemed to be in bad fate to the settlement reached, they can take you on.
To be on the safe side, don’t post anything related to your injury trials on social media. Settlements you reach with your insurer shouldn’t be in the public domain. If you’ve already done that and you believe it can hurt your case, inform your attorney about it. Your attorney can find ways of defending such posts by questioning its authenticity if you tell him/her on time.
4. Admitting Fault in Your Post
“Friends, something terrible happened to me today. I was chatting on the phone when I accidentally drove into another car, and I’ve broken my leg.” Such a post can ruin your entire injury claim because you have already admitted your fault in the post. You should know that every insurance comes with some terms and conditions and no insurance company would be ready to pay you for being reckless. When the defense attorney stumbles upon this information, it may affect the end settlement you may receive for the injuries.
5. Posting inciting or Aggressive Rants
As already mentioned, people are watching whatever you post online. The frustrations that come with injury trials can lead you to vent your anger on social media. But this is a no-go area if you really want to gains the most from your claim. Never make ill and maligning statements about the trial defense attorney, the insurance company or the court during and after the trial. Any such thing can result in a countersuit against you. For example, when you make a defaming statement about your insurer, the company can sue you for losses resulting from your posts. The company can claim that your post has affected its insurance sales. Doing this can put you in hot water.
Social media is fun and sharing even makes it more enjoyable. However, be very careful about what you put out there. When you are pursuing an injury claim, don’t post anything concerning the trial on social media. You can even choose to deactivate your account if you are addicted to social media and can't stay a day without a post. Aside from jeopardizing your injury claim, it can cause you several other personal damages.
The information you divulge can hurt you. There have been several instances where strangers were able to track and harm people due to the information they shared on social media. There is no need telling the world where you are at a particular time or where you would be. A little bit of cautiousness can save your life.