Social media is a wonderful tool to stay in contact with people you don’t get to see every day. Your friends and family members want to know what you’re up to, but you should think twice before posting about your personal injury case.
Insurance companies need to protect their profits
Like any other business, insurance companies work hard to protect their profits. They’re not going to pay out a settlement without investigating to every extent possible. This includes looking at your medical records, reviewing your medical history, and searching for your internet presence.
Insurance companies will scour your social media accounts
Google will only provide a limited amount of information on you. Insurance companies know people document much of their lives on social media, so that’s the first place they’re going to look for evidence they can use against you. An insurance company will do everything they can to find information that will discredit your claim.
Anything an insurance company finds on your social media accounts can be used against you to limit your compensation or outright deny your claim. For example, if your claim includes that you’ve injured your back and can’t walk, and you post content that makes you appear uninjured, your claim might be denied. Your social media accounts will be scrutinized even more if you’re claiming the loss of enjoyment of life.
In 2000, an 18-year-old Canadian woman named Fotini Kourtesis filed a personal injury claim after a rear-end collision. Kourtesis claimed she suffered a loss of enjoyment of life because she was no longer able to dance and wrestle with her brother. Her Facebook posts told a different story: Kourtesis published post-accident photos that showed her being lifted into the air by her brother and dancing. The judge in her case ruled against her and said she was clearly enjoying her life.
While it seems Kourtesis wasn’t being completely honest about the effects of her injuries, people who really have lost the ability to enjoy life are at risk of having their claims denied by posting on social media.
It’s a known fact that people use social media to present a false image of being happy and living it up, but the courts don’t take that into consideration. They tend to rule at face value. For instance, when someone says they are unable to enjoy life due to their injuries, and other people post happy birthday messages to their Facebook timeline, some courts rule that those birthday messages indicate a happy social life. The courts don’t look beyond the surface.
When your injuries are serious, you can’t afford to risk losing your claim. Avoid posting on social media altogether and consult with a personal injury attorney immediately. Turn your posts private. Ask your friends and family not to post on your Facebook timeline or comment on your social media accounts regarding your accident. Don’t give insurance companies an incentive to dig deeper.
What you post on social media can be used against you legally
Courts are legally allowed to use any information they find on social media to discredit your claims. There are endless cases where emotional distress claims have been denied simply because they posted smiling photos and happy face emoticons.
Social media sites can be forced to hand over information
Just because your posts are private doesn’t mean they’ll never end up in the hands of the court. There’s no such thing as a private post; even when you set your posts to be viewed by only you or your friends. If, during a personal injury lawsuit, a social media platform receives a court order to hand over your communications, your private posts will end up in the prosecution’s hands.
Don’t risk it – don’t post it
No matter how tempting it is to post photos to show people how you’re recovering from your injuries, don’t do it. A judge might consider your smile for the camera to mean that you’re not emotionally struggling with life. Avoid checking in to places on social media. A judge won’t know that you were depressed when your friends dragged you out to a club.
If you want to update your friends and family, call them on the phone and update them privately. Consult with your personal injury lawyer before you resume your regular social media habits to avoid having your claim unfairly denied.