Social media use has grown dramatically in the last several years. Recent polls have indicated that as many as 78% of adults in the United States have at least one active social media profile. Although people use these platforms for varying reasons, most people use them to share personal aspects of their lives, from what they had for dinner to marriages and deaths. Whether it comes in the form of a tweet, a quip or a photo, our lives have become a story for just about anyone to read.
Many people do not consider, or perhaps fully understand, the ramifications such open access can have, especially in legal matters. Law enforcement routinely uses social media to identify, track and even prosecute criminal activity. Insurance adjusters and attorneys have used social media profiles to search for evidence that might contradict or support a claim or case. This is especially true in personal injury cases.
When you’ve been injured in an accident, it can feel like second nature to post a status, photos of your mangled car or injuries, and periodic updates for your social circles to see. As time and healing progress, you may begin posting about other life events or activities. Void of proper context, these postings can inadvertently send a message of healing and quality of life that may not be accurate.
Even a person with significant permanent injuries can have good days. But no one can feel your suffering through your social media profile. They can only formulate perceptions based upon what they see or read. If you smile, you must be happy. If you are walking, it must not hurt. If you attend a party, your quality of life must not have been impacted. Insurance adjusters are quick to capitalize on these perceptions and will be equally quick to use them as a basis to deny your claim or reduce the potential settlement compensation. Understand that nothing you post on line should be considered private, regardless of the settings you have in place on your account. Even if your account is locked tight, your friends’ profiles might not. Accessing someone’s account through a friend’s can be easily achieved.
At the same time, it can be equally consequential to overstate your suffering. For these reasons, we recommend that you do not access social media during the course of your claim; however, we understand this may be difficult for some. Post nothing about the accident, your injuries, your physical activities or your legal claim. Follow the simple rule of when in doubt, don’t. Being active on social media can significantly harm your claim.
If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact the personal injury attorneys at Doar, Drill & Skow. With over 100 years combined experience, we are committed to achieving the best possible outcome for your claim.