Social Media Posts Can Endanger Your Claim After a Wreck
OMG! You were just hit by this guy on his cell phone who blew through that stop sign and into the side of your car. You should post on Facebook to let everyone know what happened (and that you’re okay), right?
Not so fast. While we’ve become used to sharing events, big and small, with our friends and followers, it’s not always appropriate to do so. Car accidents are one event you want to refrain from posting about. As soon as you make a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurer, its adjusters will begin looking for reasons to deny it. One of their favorite tools is social media.
While you might not think much about firing off a post, an insurance adjuster may use the timestamp, your post frequency, or the content of the post against you. The easiest way to outsmart them is by not giving them anything to find.
Nothing You Post Is Private
Even if you have your privacy settings dialed to the max on social media, assume every one of your posts might be seen by an insurance adjuster. Often, after an accident, these individuals will use their personal Facebook accounts to friend your acquaintances and relatives. They’ll use this access to look for comments or posts about you.
Some insurance adjusters are bold enough to ask your friends directly whether you’ve posted anything about your accident. They know how to seem well-meaning, so a friend who shares your info will think they’re helping.
Update people through phone calls, text messages, or through the one-on-one messaging tools built into social media rather than posting publicly. However, keep in mind that even individual communications could be requested during discovery if your claim progresses to a lawsuit. Therefore, don’t say anything in text that might sound bad if taken out of context and presented to a jury.
What Insurance Adjusters Look for on Social Media
Insurance adjusters know how to present information in a way that supports their narrative of an accident. Unlike you, they’ve had years to discover and refine strategies for using social media in their cases. This means no matter what you post, they might find a way to use it against you.
Here are some of the posts an insurance adjuster might use to dispute your claim.
Most people try to keep their social media profiles positive, which means you’re more likely to post good news about your recovery online while keeping setbacks to yourself. Unfortunately, insurance adjusters use this tendency to claim you weren’t as badly injured as you claim, and therefore should not receive reimbursement for all of your medical bills.
Information About Your Case
When you work with a lawyer, your meetings with them are protected by attorney-client privilege. Everything the two of you discuss about your claim is confidential. However, as soon as you post that information online, you lose this protection. You don’t want to accidentally expose your private medical or financial information online, especially if you have an insurance adjuster watching you. Keep your case between yourself and your attorney.
Rants About the Insurance Company
It can be hard to keep quiet when you feel you’re being treated unfairly, but complaining about your insurance adjuster and/or calling them names can work against you in court. An insurer may use these types of posts to claim you’re not negotiating with them in good faith. If a judge agrees, this accusation could seriously damage your ability to receive compensation. Therefore, keep your frustrations to yourself or vent to your friends in person.
Check-Ins, Photos, or Video
If you’re badly injured but post a video of you shooting hoops with your friends, a jury might start to question the veracity of your claim. Even if that video was from last year, the insurance adjuster might attempt to use it against you. It’s best to just keep content like this off your profiles. You should also ask your friends not to post any photos from old events or activities together, as these files may be seized as well.
Even checking in to a restaurant or other venue might be enough to raise suspicion. If you do attend an event, make sure to keep quiet about it online. A photo of you with the bride-to-be doesn’t show the pain and fatigue you had to deal with after, so it will ultimately work against your claim.
Any Posts, If You Make Them Too Often
Never mind the fact that people often turn to social media for support when they’re having a hard time—if your social feeds show too much activity, an insurance adjuster may contend you weren’t as distressed by the accident as you are claiming. There’s no saying when they might decide to make this argument, so, even though it may be hard when you’re laid up in recovery, try to stay off social media as much as possible.
Should I Delete Social Posts That May Harm My Claim?
Even though you might want to delete a post to make sure it’s not used against you, doing so might constitute destruction of evidence, which could put you in hot water. Therefore, don’t go through your profiles and take down posts made after your accident. You should, however, warn your attorney if you think they may be a factor.
Personal Dedication to You
Trying to navigate the insurance claims system is complicated, especially because accident victims must consider things like social media that may not even seem related. Take the pressure off by calling an experienced attorney to fight for you.
Our team at The Tapella & Eberspacher Law Firm has over 100 years of combined legal experience, and we can use it to guide you through filing a claim. If you have questions about your right to compensation, reach out to us today.
We offer free consultations! Call The Tapella & Eberspacher Law Firm at (217) 394-5885 to reach our Charleston office.