We have grown so used to sharing our lives on social media sites that we give it little thought. We may believe Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media sites are private, and our personal information is safe. The fact is, it is public and social media is a tool in the hands of those seeking to discredit you.
Insurance companies will stop at nothing to keep from paying your personal injury claims. Insurance companies make their money by collecting premiums and managing risks. The goal of the insurance company is to make as much money as possible. That means paying people who have been injured as little as possible.
Personal injury claims are difficult to prove. You must prove that you are injured, that the injury was due to the action or negligence of someone else, and how long you will experience pain. Of course, medical bills, income loss, and expenses incurred due to adjusting to the injury are easier to prove.
Insurance adjusters and investigators will stop at nothing to discredit your claims and stop you from collecting. Your actions may have been reasonable, and your doctor may have been consulted before you did them, but they will not stop to find out.
What does this have to do with my social media?
Here is a hypothetical story that happens all too often. Let’s say you have filed a suit against a company for having a dangerous walkway that caused you to fall and hurt yourself. You are experiencing pain in your neck and back and will have to take physical therapy to recover. Your doctor says you may never fully recover. Despite the pain, you go to the lake with some friends.
You were feeling okay at the lake, so you try to do some water skiing. Then, someone posted pictures on Facebook of you while you were skiing, dancing and having fun with your friends. The next day, you were in pain, and you paid for your poor choices. When you go to court, the attorneys for the defendant show pictures, complete with dates of you participating in water sports and dancing as a way to prove to the judge that you could not be hurt and are not entitled to payment.
Are your settings set to maximum privacy?
No matter how tight your security settings are, they can still figure out ways to access your social media accounts. Insurance companies sometimes hire people to “friend” you. People will accept a friend request and ask questions later. By then it is too late. In some cases, insurance companies have asked for (and gotten) court orders to access people’s social media accounts, stating that it is not private if the person put the information on the internet.
What can they use against you?
Have you posted a video of you enjoying the day or doing different activities with your friends, like hiking in the woods, swimming, or traveling? These posts, photos, and videos can be used to prove that you are not experiencing “pain and suffering.” They will try to discredit your statements about life-changing events by showing you as happy and active. They will use your own words to try to make you look immoral and dishonest.
What can you do?
First, do not post things online that you would not present to a judge. Keep a low profile and do not share too much of your personal life. Even if you use the private message program, be very careful and make sure that you know who you are talking to at all times.
If you have things on your social media sites, do not rush out to delete your accounts and the information on them. That will look suspicious if the investigators already have the information. Instead, allow your attorney to guide you in what and how to remove from the internet.
If you have already posted some things that could be a problem, consider getting doctors’ statements showing that treatment was ongoing and the effects of those actions. Use a qualified attorney, experienced in personal injury and other areas of the legal field that can work in your favor.
About the author:
Julie R. Glade, RN, JD has been helping families, and injured people recover for more than 14 years. Julie’s experience includes personal injury cases of many levels. She can represent you in the legal arena, with SSDI, and even in seeking justice for wrongful death.