Avoid Posting on Social Media After Your Accident
It’s rarer these days for an adult to not have any social media accounts than it is to have at least one. The United States has more than 302 million social media users. The average user interacts with more than six social media platforms and spends more than two hours a day on them.
That creates an enormous volume of comments, likes, shares, photos, and information for the world to see. When you are filing an insurance claim, social media has the potential to do far more harm than good, so beware. Your “friends” aren’t the only people paying attention. For an insurance adjuster, social media is a treasure trove of information about people who file third-party liability claims against their policyholders.
At Jose Orihuela, Attorney at Law, I understand the ways posting on social media after an accident can compromise your personal injury claim. As a personal injury attorney, I share that insight with my clients in Houston, Webster, Pasadena, South Houston, League City, Clear Lake, Friendswood, Kemah, Dickinson, Bacliff, Alvin, Santa Fe, and Seabrook, Texas, so they don’t compromise their claims. Car accidents and social media don’t mix.
Does Social Media Hurt My Image?
Just because you like to post selfies at parties does not mean you are not entitled to collect compensation from a negligent driver who injured you. However, those photos convey something about you that may not play well with an adjuster looking for ways to deny or devalue your claim, or with members of a jury deciding how much compensation you should receive.
What you post on your social media accounts does create an image of the type of person you are. That image may not be accurate and may be misconstrued by someone intent on making you look bad, irresponsible, or untruthful, but it is available to virtually anyone who wants to use your posts to paint an unflattering picture.
How Can Social Media Affect My Car Accident Case?
There are two key ways social media can affect your car accident case. First, it can portray you in a way that may not be accurate and may harm your credibility with the insurance adjuster and with a jury. Second, it can show you doing things that conflict with the injuries you have reported. For example, if you say your low back causes constant pain after the crash, photos of you dancing or lifting heavy objects would throw suspicion on how much pain you really are enduring.
Again, these photos do not necessarily mean you are not in pain. Perhaps you danced at a friend’s wedding or lifted heavy objects while building a Habitat for Humanity home. You might have paid dearly for doing either activity later that day or the next due to those injuries. However, the photos mean you must go to additional lengths to prove the pain or limitations caused by your injuries than would have been necessary without them.
Be aware that insurance companies look for every possible reason to lower a settlement sum or to deny a claim altogether. Those companies now use technology to sift through millions of social media posts to locate any that they can use out of context to make you look bad. Moreover, they don’t just look through your posts, but those of others who posted photos of you in theirs.
What Steps Can I Take to Protect Myself?
Ask an experienced car accident attorney: “Should I post on social media after a car accident?” The answer will be a resounding “no.” However, what is already out there is already being captured by insurance company adjusters and attorneys. Here are some ways you may be able to protect yourself and your car accident claim:
Never delete existing posts to make them invisible to insurance companies. Not only does it make you look like you have something to hide, but it can qualify as destroying evidence. There are ways to take posts down and preserve them. Your attorney can help you do that.
Review each social media account you have and Google yourself to uncover what is out there about you. Talk to your attorney about your findings for guidance on what to do with anything potentially compromising without destroying evidence.
Set your accounts to the highest level of privacy for each platform and make your posts visible only to “friends” and “followers.” Don’t approve any new friends or followers until your claim has been settled.
Don’t post anything or comment on others’ posts until your claim is settled. Taking a break from social media will help ensure it doesn’t interfere with your case.
Monitor others who tag you in posts. Consult with your personal injury attorney if anything surfaces that could be taken out of context or shows you in a bad light.
If you have to post, be careful. For example, if you need to respond to an event invitation or want to congratulate a friend on a birthday, wedding, graduation, or birth of a child or grandchild, it probably won’t harm your claim, unless your relationship with that person can be used against you.
In all matters, talk to your attorney about the best ways to protect your claim while not taking any actions that could, in fact, do the opposite.
Understand the Best Next Steps
When you file a car accident claim, the one thing you can count on is that the insurance company will actively seek out ways to cry foul or fraud. You are your own best protection, and your personal injury attorney is the best source of guidance for what you should and should not do.
I understand that social media is important to many of my clients. I also know how it can compromise a personal injury claim. Trust me to help you preserve it.
Call Jose Orihuela, Attorney at Law in Webster, Texas, if you have been injured in a car accident in Houston and the surrounding areas. I’m here to help, so call now.