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There’s no denying it: social media is a part of our daily lives.
Statistics from the Pew Research Center reveal that 68 percent of people use Facebook, and 74 percent of people use it daily. Other social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are also popular means of interacting with friends, family and even strangers across the world.
While social media allows us to connect with others by sharing pictures, posts and information relevant to our daily lives, it can also be a detriment. Aside from privacy concerns about what social media sites do with our personal information and the usual social media drama, it’s important to know that what we post on the internet may never truly go away—and that information can be easily accessed by others.
When it comes to personal injury cases, the social media use of injury victims may be scrutinized by insurance providers and their attorneys who are looking for ways to limit or deny your claim.
Social Media and Personal Injury Claims
In today’s online world, it’s not uncommon for insurance adjusters and insurance lawyers to monitor a claimant’s social media profiles and posts for anything that may relate to the event that caused the injury.
Insurance companies and their attorneys know that people tend to share information about major life events on social media, and these include motor vehicle crashes, workplace accidents, dog attacks and other circumstances that often lead to personal injury claims. As they investigate your claim, they will likely scan your profiles and posts for details including:
- Pictures or video of the incident and resulting injuries
- Information about your physical condition
- Comments by yourself and others about your injury or insurance claim
Posting anything that could limit your ability to pursue compensation for your injuries—such as pictures of you without a neck brace after suffering a neck injury—is a bad idea. It’s also advisable to not share pictures of your injury or damaged property on social media, as this could be used to contradict other evidence gathered in the course of investigating your claim.
Of course, it can be hard not to post about life events, especially when they’re as traumatic as a personal injury. Your family and friends want to know what’s going on, after all. However, you have to remember that everything you post can be accessed by others, and that accessing your information is particularly easy if your profiles are public.
Protecting Your Personal Injury Claim on Social Media
While many people believe that deleting a post or profile means it’s gone for good, the truth is that nothing we post online really vanishes. Even if your social media profiles are private, the profiles and their attached posts are stored digitally and can be accessed via subpoena, data breach or even a simple accepted friend request.
If you’re pursuing an insurance claim or personal injury case, it’s best to stay off social media until your situation is resolved. But if you need your social media fix, the following steps can help protect your claim or personal injury lawsuit:
- Don’t post anything related to the incident or your medical condition
- Set all your profiles to “Private”—make sure no one except your personal connections can view your profiles or posts
- Adjust your profile settings so they cannot be indexed by search engines like Google; you can also block your social media posts from showing up in search results
- Don’t accept new friend or connection requests until your case is resolved
Recent court rulings have found that social media accounts, even when set to “Private,” can be subject to discovery in legal proceedings. As a rule of thumb, if you think anything you post could be used to diminish your claim, don’t post it.
Personal Injury Lawyers Serving Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana
The personal injury attorneys at Young, Reverman & Mazzei are dedicated to protecting the rights of injury victims from the greater Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio, areas. We are also proud to represent clients from Dearborn County in Indiana and Boone County, Kenton County and Campbell County in Kentucky.
If you or a loved one was hurt due to another’s negligence, please call us at 513-721-1200 for your free consultation. You can also contact us online to get started now.