Social media is a common fixture in most people’s lives. They use it to update their status, keep friends and family in the loop and even as a way to pass the time. While social media can be a valuable tool, it can also spell disaster if you have a pending lawsuit. Social media is constantly used against a plaintiff in personal injury cases – and it is imperative that not only the attorney be aware of how it can be used, but that the plaintiff understands how their actions on social media could play out in court or even during negotiations.
Anyone seeking a settlement for damages after a car accident needs to understand that insurance companies are always looking for ways to disprove injuries or even ruin the plaintiff’s credibility. Even if the plaintiff is not lying about their injuries, what they say or do on social media can be used to create a level of doubt.
How Insurers May Use Your Social Media Account Against You
Social media is not as private as it may seem; therefore, anything you do on your social media networks may be used against you later. Some ways that insurers may attempt to use it against you include:
- Claiming Injuries Are Not Real – You may be seriously injured and in pain, but insurers will do whatever they can to prove otherwise. For example, your friend shares a picture of you on Facebook showing you standing up and smiling at a family birthday event. While you were in pain and only stood for the photo, insurers can use that photo alone to create reasonable doubt as to how serious your injuries are – or if they even exist altogether. The insurer may try to claim that if you were so seriously injured, why were you attending functions in the first place?
- Using Past Photos – If you share a photo of you skiing from three years ago, insurers will see that photo and try to use that to disprove current injuries. Insurers don’t pay attention to dates on your photos nor do they care when you actually attended the trip. While you can prove later that it was a photo from the past, it will only prolong settlement negotiations and make the process harder.
- Using Statements – Any statements you make on your social media account could be used against you as if you said them to the insurance company directly. If you bash the other driver, discuss how your lawsuit is going or share anything related to the case, insurance companies may use it to lower your settlement or deny it. If you sign a confidentiality agreement as part of that settlement, do not say anything on social media and do not let family or friends say anything either – it could result in you having to give back your settlement to the insurance company.
Speak With Your Attorney Before Posting
If you are ever unsure, contact your attorney about how to properly use social media. Most personal injury attorneys will advise their clients to avoid it altogether so that they do not accidentally fall into the traps listed above. If you have a social media account, make sure you set it to private and remove people that you no longer associate with.
After your accident, contact the attorneys at Malman Law to discuss your claim. We not only help you file your claim, but will ensure that your behaviors do not limit how much of a settlement you receive. Call us at 888-307-2051 to schedule your consultation or fill out an online contact form with your questions.