Protecting Your Personal Injury Claim From Prying Eyes on Social Media

Check out the short video below, or scroll down for the more thorough blog post.

When you are injured and file a claim, one of the first things an insurance adjuster will do is look you up on the internet. This includes your social media accounts such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, even SnapChat.

With that in mind, we want to ensure these cyber sleuths do not see anything on your social media that can compromise your claim.

We go through some typical scenarios below with rules to keep in mind, as well as Frequently Asked Questions about social media.

Rule #1

After you are injured, do not post any pictures or comments on social media regarding your injury or about the accident.

Why? Because insurance companies, defense lawyers, even jurors will see these comments! Avoid any issues by not posting this content altogether.

Photos and videos can be very helpful to a claim, but it is best to keep them off social media. Instead, make sure the photos and video are safely stored and give them to your lawyer as soon as possible.

If you think something is important to post to social media–perhaps you are looking for witnesses to a car accident–talk to your lawyer first before making these posts.

A lawyer may be able to find witnesses for you through a private investigator, or may be able to help locate potential witnesses through other means.

In the end, your lawyer may recommend to go ahead and post this kind of content to your social media. If you consult your lawyer first, you can both be on the same page about what your post will look like, its wording, and how it may be perceived by others.

Question: I’ve already posted pictures and/or comments about my accident to my social media account – should I delete them?

NO. If you were to delete these posts, this could be considered destruction of evidence. Talk to your lawyer about any concerns you have about your posts.

Instead of deleting this content, you should consider alternatives. On Facebook for example, you can make your page “private.” This prevents any evidence from being deleted, but doesn’t allow people you don’t know from looking at the content.

Question: Should I make my Facebook and Instagram pages “private?”

We strongly recommend this. By making your accounts private, only people who know you have access to your posts.

Similarly, don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know on Facebook. On Instagram, make sure your account is “Private” so that you have to accept people who want to follow you. Only choose to accept them if you know them personally.

One client had public Instagram account with videos of her dancing and “twerking” at a club a few weeks after her car accident. She was still seeing a chiropractor and complaining of back pain at the time these videos were made. Guess what? The insurance adjuster had “followed” her on Instagram and had these videos in their file. This was embarrassing for the client and made it very difficult to argue she needed further chiropractic care after the videos were taken.

What can seem like an innocent post can turn out to be destructive to your case.

Question: Should I stop posting on social media altogether?

Answer: Not necessarily. However, you should be mindful of the things you do post because they could come back to haunt you.

One example of this involved a case in Virginia when a man’s wife died in a tragic accident.  Despite this, he posted a picture on his Facebook drinking a beer, surrounded by women, while wearing a t-shirt that said: I ♥ hot moms. This is not the kind of image you want a jury, insurance adjusters, or defense lawyers criticizing. Even though this post had nothing to do with his wife’s accident, it had everything to do with a negative perception of his case.

Similar to the example above: if you were in an automobile accident and you injured your back, it would be unwise to post of a video of you participating in a surfing competition. An insurance adjuster is rightfully going to assume you are not as injured as you claim to be. If your back hurt – why were you able to go surfing? This is a good question and an unpleasant one. Avoid these issues by avoiding these kinds of posts altogether.

Question: Sometimes I get “tagged” in photos and videos on Facebook, what should I do about that?

Anything that can go on your profile should be monitored. We suggest changing your settings so that you have to approve the request for someone to tag you in their photos or videos.

Contact Me

Feel free to reach out. You’ll hear back from me personally within 24 hours, if not less.

All calls are forwarded to my cell phone. That way, you can reach me at any time.

Phone: (415) 523-0302. Extension 707.

All initial consultations are free.

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