How Social Media Can Sabotage Your Personal Injury Claim

Have you been injured by someone else’s negligence? There are a number of steps you need to take right away. The process might look like this: seeking medical treatment, calling West Palm Beach attorneys, and focusing on recovering from your injuries. Where in the process does social media come in?

Insurance companies do not want to pay you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. To reduce the value of your claim, insurance companies use a number of tools and tricks, including social media. 

In this post, you will read extensively about how your actions on social media can negatively affect the outcome of your personal injury claim. 

HOW CAN SOCIAL MEDIA AFFECT YOUR PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM?

Insurance adjusters routinely search social media to look for evidence that can be used to reduce the value of your claim or deny it altogether. Anything you say or post online, including pictures, comments, and check-ins, can be used as evidence in your personal injury case.

For example, if you post a picture of you exercising, the insurance company may use this as proof that you are not as injured as you claim.

AN EXAMPLE OF A PERSONAL INJURY CASE SABOTAGED BY SOCIAL MEDIA

Charisma Smith was involved in an accident. She claimed to have injured her knee and spine, and filed a personal injury claim against the at-fault party. In her personal injury claim, Smith alleged that her injuries reduced the quality of her life, so she asked the defendant to pay compensation for the loss of her enjoyment of her life.

Smith routinely posted pictures on her Instagram account. Some of the pictures show the woman engaging in physical activities, including walking on a sidewalk and mountain climbing. The defendant in the case, Frank Pasquale, used Smith’s Instagram photos to argue that she was exaggerating the severity of her injuries.

He even went further by saying that Smith at some point after the accident changed her account from public to private. Seeing how this might turn out, Smith’s legal team chose to seek a protective order against Pasquale  instead.

John Higgitt, the court justice, denied the protective order, and ordered Smith to answer if she had an Instagram account or not. If the incriminating pictures are verified, they could ruin Smith’s case.

Should this be allowed? Checking social media evidence in search of evidence?

CAN INSURANCE COMPANIES INVESTIGATE YOU?

Repeating what you have read earlier, insurance companies do not want to compensate you for your injuries. They will aggressively find ways to cut down or completely ruin your claims. In many cases, the evidence they use to do this is found on the plaintiff’s social media pages. 

Though we see surveillance as a debatable tactic used in the prosecution of crime, insurance companies depend on it in their effort to dismiss as many claims as they can. This might look wrong; a company that should be trusted with information is using surveillance tactics. The law, however, allows it.

In fact, the law allows insurance companies to shoot videos, make audio recordings, and capture still photos during the course of their investigations.

Does that mean you should be scared? No, there is a limit to the level of surveillance that insurance companies can conduct. You have the right to privacy inside your house, for example.

IS SOCIAL MEDIA EVIDENCE ALLOWED IN PERSONAL INJURY CASES?

Insurance companies are allowed to access your public information. If your social media page is public, insurance companies are allowed to access it. So, it’s important to remember that anything you post online could be accessed by insurance companies. It can serve as a tool for a defendant if you ever become a plaintiff.

Back to Smith’s case, once she has put the pictures online for public consumption, the defendant has the freedom to check them and used them to dismiss her claim. And so, she provided her opposition with the evidence which was used to defeat her.

Be careful what you post–especially if you have filed a personal injury claim. West Palm Beach attorneys are always available to help in every situation. But they can not help when you have provided the defense with the evidence they need to win your case.