In the days before the Internet, insurance case investigators had to go about discrediting a personal injury claim in a variety of time-consuming ways. They would trail the plaintiff and take pictures of them engaged in activities that they claimed they could not do, or investigators would make audio recordings of plaintiffs who were supposed to be depressed actually laughing and having a good time.
These days, the Internet has made many private lives public domain, and it has made the work of case investigators much easier. Social media is a way for people to communicate with each other, and it is also a way for case investigators to get evidence against a plaintiff in a personal injury case. Social media and personal injury lawsuits can be a bad combination for plaintiffs.
What You Need To Know About Social Media
Too many people believe that information on their social media pages is private and cannot be used in personal injury cases. Make no mistake, the information you post on your social media pages is public domain and can be used against you in any way possible. Even if your social media settings are all set to private, your posts can be used if investigators can get to them.
It is also important to know that the posts of your friends and family members are also public domain and can also be used against you. For example, if you are making a claim for pain and suffering and your brother posts pictures of you at a party that occurred after your accident, then your case is ruined. If you claim that your accident has made you depressed and lonely but your best friend is sharing jokes you have been telling, then you are obviously not as depressed as you say you are.
The worst part about social media is that the information used against you does not need to be obvious to be effective. For example, if you claim your accident made you depressed yet you are still taking the time to wish friends and family members a happy birthday online, then that can be considered evidence that you are not depressed. If you claim that your accident has left you in too much pain to move but you post your cardio results from earlier that morning, then that is going to cause problems for your case.
What Can You Do To Protect Yourself?
When you hire an experienced lawyer to handle your personal injury lawsuit, the first piece of advice you will get is to disable all of your social media accounts and stay away from the Internet completely, if possible. If your job requires you to be online, then restrict your online activity to essential websites in order to avoid any kind of issues.
You will also want to talk to your friends and family members to ask them not to discuss your case online. Family members frequently like to post updates on injured loved ones to assure online friends that all is well. These types of posts can be very damaging to your case and should be avoided at all costs.
It is also important to ask your friends and family members to not respond to questions about you online and to not post any pictures of you either. You may think that having your mom post a picture of you in the hospital will show how badly you are injured, but experienced case investigators can turn that around into a damaging image very quickly.
Public Posting Tips
It is estimated that three out of every four adults who use the Internet are on social media. For many people, giving up social media is extremely difficult. If you do find it impossible to avoid social media, then there are some tips you need to follow. They are:
- Do not approve any new friends
- Engage only in one-on-one private conversations
- Do not post anything public
- Do not react to any public posts
The idea of not being on social media while you await the outcome of a personal injury claim cannot be overstated. Social media is the newest way that insurance companies find the information they need to discredit your claim and avoid paying you anything for your injuries. If you want to help your case, then stay off social media.