Social media is now officially everywhere . Literally billions of people everywhere share personal information on Facebook, Twitter and Google+, not to mention a dozen other sites mostly popular with young people. Not surprisingly, insurance companies have put these sites to good use in defending Cary personal injury and workers’ compensation claims.
In my own practice, I have seen insurance companies use information found on Facebook:
- to locate a workers’ comp claimant for the purpose of doing surveillance (ironically, the video surveillance was helpful to us at trial);
- to impeach a potential witness;
- and to attempt to show that an injured party was able to work.
I have also used information from social media sites against defendants in several cases, including one situation where the defendant in a Cary automobile accident bragged about using illegal drugs on his Facebook page. And then there is this massive kerfuffle.
If you file a claim because you are injured in an automobile accident in Cary or on the job then you should assume that the insurance company on the other side will at least comb the large social media sites for information about you. Expect them to look for pictures of you smiling to show you are not in pain, being active to show you are not injured, or simply cavorting around to undermine your credibility. Keep this in mind: their point here is not to get a full understanding of you. It’s to find a single photo, video or comment that will in some way impeach you. I represented a very nice lady whose mental disability claim was denied in part simply because she went to a birthday party.
So, what to do? Here are a few tips so that will help you not wreck your personal injury or workers comp claim with your social media posts.
- Be honest. Be honest with your lawyer and while online. Don’t tell your lawyer you are not working if you are, and don’t tell your friends online that you are working if you are not.
- Avoid Social Media. I would prefer you avoid social media entirely while your claim is pending. I know you will not do it, but I feel better having said it.
- Use the Privacy Settings. If you insist on posting make full use of the privacy settings.
- Limit your Posts. Avoid pictures and video of you. Do not go on excessively about your awesome workout routine. And please do not post anything about your case or that your lawyer told you.
- Beware of Strangers. Do not accept friend requests from people you do not know.
It’s a scary new social media world. Be careful. Don’t let social media ruin your Personal Injury case.