The internet has changed the way we live our lives in innumerable ways. Information is more accessible than at any time in the history of man-kind.
We can share information with friends, family, and people around the world literally at light speed. The internet has made the world smaller in that we can now communicate with people and learn things we never had access to prior to the internet. Most would agree that this is a profoundly good thing.
Social media has taken the sharing of information to a whole new level. People now put all manner of information previously thought private on the internet for all to see. Many post up to the minute photos, status updates, and comments letting the world know exactly what they are doing at that moment. This sort of sharing can make us feel closer to friends and family and provides an outlet to connect with the world.
However, sharing too much information on-line can damage your personal injury lawsuit or workers’ compensation claim if you do not use discretion when posting. After an injury, the best advice is to avoid social media sites and on-line forums altogether. If you do, it is less likely that you will provide any information to insurance adjusters that will be used against you. An insurance adjuster’s job is to pay you as little as possible for your injury claim. You do not want to help the insurance adjuster and damage your claim through your own comments and postings on social media sites and on-line forums.
Consider the following example. If you injure your back working, and, shortly afterwards, you post pictures online that show you on a jet ski with the status update, “Great weekend at the lake,” the insurance adjuster may find these postings and use them against you. The fact may be that your back hurt too badly to ride the jet ski, or that you briefly rode the jet ski, but where bed-ridden for a week from the pain. The adjuster will ignore these facts and argue that no injured person would be out riding a jet ski.
If you insist on using social media sites and on-line forums after your injury, here are a few rules to follow:
Check your Privacy Settings. Some social media sites, such as Facebook, will allow you to make your personal information and posts private. In Facebook this would mean that only community member on your friend lists will be able to view your status updates (You can go even further by creating friend lists with specific privacy policies applied to them). Be aware, however, that even the highest level of privacy settings may not prevent the insurance adjuster from obtaining posted photos and comments. The adjuster may seek information from your social media profiles during the discovery phase of the lawsuit. While this is still an open issue, some courts have allowed discovery of this information.
When uploading photos, be selective on which photos are appropriate. If possible, set up filters that only allow friends to see your photo albums. For Facebook users, make sure you set your options for tagged photos. You should select “Only Me” for people who can view your tagged photos.
Accept only friend requests from people you know. An insurance adjuster may send you a friend request in hopes of gaining access to your personal information.
Do not join groups with provocative names and/or discussions.
Keep your case private. Do not post any photos of your accident or give any information regarding your injury or your case.
Remember, an insurance adjuster will be searching for incriminating details about your personal life and your injury claim. Ideally, you should not use social media sites or on-line forums during your case. This will ensure that you do not post anything that will harm your case.
If you have been injured, contact us at 855-448-7887 (855-448-7887) or email us at [email protected], or on Facebook or Twitter. We can help you with your case and help you navigate the use of social media while your claim is pending.