How Can Social Media Affect a Personal Injury Claim?
Needless to say, social media is a daily part of most peoples’ lives. We share thoughts, experiences and photos with our friends on social media -- both good and bad. So it makes sense that people use social media to share details about an accident or injury. However, what you may not realize is that sharing this information could hurt a pending personal injury claim.
In most Delaware personal injury claims, the person who is pursuing the claim is usually doing so because they have suffered physical injuries such as a broken limb, a concussion, or chronic pain. He or she is seeking money for pain and suffering that resulted from the physical injuries sustained in the accident, mental distress, medical bills, lost wages and other forms of damages. A claimant will call upon medical experts and lay witnesses who can testify to the claimant’s pain in order to substantiate the damages. The defense, or the person/party who the claim is being filed against, aims to find evidence that suggests the damages are not as severe as claimed. One place the defense may turn to is social media.
What Can Be Used Against You?
Aggressive insurance adjusters or defense attorneys will seek out your social media pages in order to minimize or devalue your claim. You might be surprised at what an adjuster might dig up and use against you.
For example, posting photos of yourself doing any activity, especially physical activity, can undermine a claim that you were severely injured. Posting something about having financial problems or about hoping to get a big settlement may lead the defense to believe you are only pursuing the claim for the money. Even a photo of you smiling at a special occasion or having fun with friends could dispute that you experienced a great deal of pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life during your treatment or recovery.
You may think you are safe by changing your privacy settings. Don’t be fooled. Courts have oftentimes ruled that private social media pages are discoverable, giving insurance adjusters and defense attorneys access to many private pages.
Best Practices for Social Media
Using social media while pursuing a personal injury claim is not advised. You should also refrain from discussing anything about your claim on social media. You never know what could be misinterpreted and used against you.
Personal information is startlingly easy to access these days. Social media makes accessing those personal details even easier if you regularly post. Be wary that a defense attorney may see anything that you post regardless of whether your accounts are private or not. Use social media cautiously while pursuing a claim and consult your lawyer if you have any questions.