“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you.”
Does this sound familiar? This is the Miranda Warning which has been a Constitutional requirement of law enforcement since a 1966 Supreme Court decision. Although insurance adjusters aren’t required to read you your rights, these are still your rights just the same. While exercising your right to remain silent is certainly good practice during interrogation, the same is true for social media.
Social media is not as protected as you may think. There are entire companies whose sole purpose is to retrieve information from social media for insurance adjusters. When posting online, it is best to assume that everything is public and accessible.
✖ Don’t Post Photos Or Videos Related To The Accident, or Your Well Being
✖ Make Sure Family Members Don’t Post Details About Your Accident or Well Being
✖ Make Sure all Social Media account settings are set to private
✖ Be Careful With “Check-Ins” such as on Foursquare
✖ Don’t Post Regrets Or Apologies
✓ Talk to your Truck accident attorney
Here are 5 social media rules to follow for personal injury and workers' compensation claims.
Rule #1: Do not post on social media or any online forums at all during your case, and ask family and friends to do the same.
It’s understandable why you want to post on social media. Sharing can make us feel closer to friends and family and provides an outlet to connect with the world, especially during a crisis such as the physical pain of a work-related injury or the emotional stress during a worker’s compensation lawsuit.
However, after an injury, the best advice is to avoid social media and online 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.
Even the littlest thing you post on social media can hurt you. Not only do you need to keep your case private, you also must keep your whole life offline as much as possible. An image with the caption, “I crashed,” might suggest that you take responsibility and fault for the incident. Posts showing your daily activities may suggest that you are not as injured as you are claiming. Any rants that display your anger for the offending party might suggest that you are vindictive in nature and are undeserving of any compensation.
Consider the following example. If you injure your back working, and, shortly afterward, 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 were 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.
Even after reading how much damage social media can do to your claim, it’s understandable that you may still feel the need to post online. In today’s connected world, many people’s entire livelihoods are based on social media. You may be an influencer or do marketing for your own business. If you insist on breaking rule number one, then there are some additional ways to protect yourself.
Rule #2: Do not discuss your case with anyone in private messages.
Anything online or in written form can see the light of day. Even though private messages are by definition, not public, in certain circumstances, a court may require access to your social media account and all its data. While this is still an open issue, it’s best to avoid this possibility entirely.
Rule #3: Adjust your privacy settings.
As mentioned earlier, nothing is actually private on the internet. Even the highest level of privacy settings may not prevent the insurance adjuster from obtaining posted photos and comments. But you can at least do your best to put as much information as possible behind your password.
- Make your posts and post history private.
- Make sure that only your close friends can see your posts.
- Make your photos, videos, and audio clips private
- Make your friends list private
- Make your contact info private
- If possible, make sure that Google can’t see your social media profile. If you see a setting to let search engines outside of the social network link to your profile, make sure you turn this setting off.
Rule #4 Be Careful and Selective
Be careful who your “friends” are. Only connect with people that you know and trust. An insurance adjuster may send you a friend request in hopes of gaining access to your personal information.
Be selective with your photo and video uploads. Upload only appropriate photos and videos that don’t show yourself, your injuries, or your daily activities. For example, any photos that show you smiling may be used against your case if it involves emotional distress.
Be selective with which groups you join, especially ones with provocative names and/or discussions. Groups that you associate with can be used against you such as painting a negative image of who you are, or eroding your credibility.
Rule #5: Ask your personal injury lawyer for advice
It may be tempting to post on social media about the amazing lawyer you just hired. Although posting this isn’t a good idea, hiring us to be your lawyer is!
If you have been injured, contact us for a free case review.
We can help you navigate the use of social media while your claim is pending. Then, after we settle your case, you can post all you want, including giving us an awesome Google Review. *wink wink