When individuals are injured due to negligence, they will often seek compensation for their injuries and losses. Of course, defending parties, including insurance companies, use any information they can find to reduce or deny an injury claim. Flash back twenty years and a private detective might have been hired to catch injured parties engaged in activities contradicting a claim of debilitating injury or an insurance company investigator might drive by to catch the plaintiff going golfing or mowing the lawn. According to a 2015 Pew Research Center study, 65% of all adults now use social networking sites – a nearly tenfold jump in the past decade and now, social media provides much of the information defending parties are seeking and using to deny a personal injury claim.
Social Media photos, posts, messages – the whole nine yards – can be used as evidence to deny an injury claim or reduce a settlement. What might seem innocent to the injured party, such as a picture of a rare post-accident walk with the dog, or news of an upcoming vacation, may be enough to derail your injury claim even if you are in fact suffering despite outward appearances.
While many assume their privately shared information will stay private on social media accounts, it is not always the case if a court believes that the private communications are relevant to a case. Forget about erasing it or closing an account – this ‘incriminating data’ tends to stick around and may cause you to lose the compensation you deserve for the injuries suffered in an accident.
When using social media following an injury accident:
- Do not post any details regarding your injury claim or accident, including any mention of your doctor, attorney or the insurance companies.
- Do not post media such as photographs or videos of your injury or damage to your property.
- Do not converse with friends or family online regarding the accident or injury – make contact directly.
Equally important is that you do:
- Update privacy settings to allow only friends or family to view your profile.
- Tell family and friends not to post any status updates that reference you or your activities.
- Remove any information from your past that can potentially hurt your claim before you’re prevented from making changes by a judge.
Injuries caused in a car accident or other personal injury are often limiting. Many injury victims attest to their inability to work as they did prior to an injury or their ability to lead the productive life they once looked forward to. In these cases, compensation for medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering and more should be pursued to help the victim of an injury but it is sometimes an uphill battle so it is important to be thoughtful of what you are projecting on social media.
Regardless of your injury, we can help you recover and obtain just and fair compensation. We have handled hundreds of personal injury claims – including injuries resulting from ATVs, forklifts, construction accidents, factory machinery, dog bites, premises liability and car and truck accidents. Our experience ranges from minor lacerations and soft tissue strains to back, spine, head, brain and neck injuries. Contact us online or at515.989.8529 to arrange a free initial consultation with a Des Moines personal injury attorney.