How to Wreck Your Personal Injury Claim — Use Facebook!
For example, there are now websites dedicated to sex offender status of people who live in your neighborhood. You can go online and see what someone was convicted of in criminal court or even how much they made from a civil lawsuit.
Similarly, others can find out information about you. Employers routinely check your Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter and LinkedIn feeds to verify information you have put on your application. Employees have also been fired over information they posted on social media.
This fishbowl-style investigation leaves everyone open to suspicion. Once you have posted something on the Internet, it will remain there forever, so it is very important to think about what you post—before you post it.
Internet Use and Personal Injury Claims
Many people who have been injured in a personal injury accident file claims against the person who caused the accident that hurt them. They feel, rightly enough, that they are entitled to payment for their pain, suffering and medical bills.
However, what many people do not understand is that insurance companies and defense attorneys will go to great lengths to keep from paying these claims. They will use social media and the Internet to find any information that conflicts with your claim, and they will not hesitate to use this information.
- Here are some examples of how attorneys and insurance companies have used the Internet to successfully block personal injury claims:
- Injured person posted pictures on Facebook of engaging in physical activities or attending parties when he or she was supposed to be bedridden or housebound
- Victim posted Twitter feeds about a vacation that involved strenuous skiing when he was supposed to have an injured leg.
- Victim’s friend posted photos of her that disputed her claim of injury from a workplace accident; victim posted about going to school during her “recovery” period
- Victim’s social media profile mentioned illegal street racing prior to a car accident
While these examples are extreme, even a small slip-up can be twisted by the defense to embarrass, harass or challenge the victim and can result in a dismissal of the personal injury case.
The best thing you can do if you are involved in a personal injury lawsuit is to take down your social media profiles until the case is concluded.
Be careful about what you allow your friends to post about you, as well.
If you must use social media, consider the following tips:
- Check privacy settings and be sure people cannot randomly access your information.
- Set up filters for you photos and do not allow others to tag you in photos.
- Accept friend requests only from those you know personally. Insurance adjusters have “friended” people on Facebook simply to get access to their information.
- Be selective about the groups you join. Do not join groups with compromising or controversial names.
- Remove yourself from Google search results by changing your privacy settings. In Facebook, this is done by unchecking the “Public Search Listing” box under privacy settings.
- Do not post photos of your accident or injuries. Send messages only by secure email or phone.
Taking simple steps to protect your personal injury claim can mean the difference between recovering a substantial compensation and recovering nothing due to incriminating evidence from the Internet.