Social media can be a great way to stay connected with friends and family, share your latest vacation photos, and provide general life updates. But if you’ve filed an injury claim, you may want to think twice about what you share online. Many people don’t realize that anything posted or shared on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc., could be used as evidence. This is even true with private accounts. If you have an ongoing injury claim and you’re someone who uses social media, we’ve got some helpful tips and a few words of caution.
1. Be careful about posting pictures or videos of yourself – It’s only natural to want to share the best (or sometimes worst) moments of our lives on social media, but this can be a disadvantage if you have an ongoing injury claim. Insurance companies may look to social media accounts to assess the degree to which an injury is impacting a person’s life. If someone claims that they are unable to work due to a leg injury but then posts pictures biking or hiking, their credibility could be called into question. This can also be true if a person is claiming compensation for emotional distress. It’s not uncommon for depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other emotional issues to be brought on by the trauma of an accident. While we know that one picture is hardly the whole picture, posts that make it look like the injuries from the accident aren’t affecting your life could potentially have a negative impact if you’re claiming emotional distress.
2. Don’t talk about your claim on social media – What you say on social media can be used against you in a claim. Avoid posting statements like “I crashed my car” or “I’m okay, just have a few cuts and bruises.” While comments like this may seem innocent enough, they could be taken to imply that you were at fault or that your injuries are less serious. So, how are you supposed to know if something you’ve said could negatively impact your claim? As a general rule, it’s best not to talk about your accident or claim on social media at all, just to be safe. If you have already posted something and you’re not sure if it could put your claim at risk, you can always remove the post or speak to your lawyer and ask for their advice.
3. Keep your social media private – Most social media accounts allow you to control the visibility of your posts. A private account that is only visible to friends is generally safer than a public account. You can easily switch the privacy for accounts like Facebook and Instagram at any time, and we highly recommend that you do so if you have an ongoing claim. If you happen to be a world-famous Instagram influencer, the decision to make your account private may be a bigger issue. If you can’t make your account private, have this discussion with your lawyer, and be very careful of what you share. While keeping your social media private is certainly a safer option, the courts may still request access to your accounts. For that reason, we suggest posting as little as possible until your case is closed.
4. Ask others not to post about you during your claim – So you’ve done your part. Your social media accounts are private, you are screening your posts, and limiting your current posting. But did you know that posts about you by your friends and family members could also be used as evidence in your claim? While you won’t have control over what others post, what you can do is explain to friends and family why you might not want them to post about you during your claim. It’s likely your loved ones will understand, and you’ll have one less thing to worry about.
5. Be wary of accepting friend requests from people you don’t know – In general, it’s a good idea to be cautious about accepting random friend requests from people you do not know. But if you have an open injury claim, this is especially true. It’s possible that this request is coming from a private investigator or someone who’s digging for information.
Key takeaways? Less is always best. Limit your activity on social media while you have an ongoing injury claim. Avoid posting anything that could call your claim into question. If you have questions, our legal team is here and ready to assist in any way that we can.