For many, sharing details of their lives on social media is second nature. If you’re hurt in a car accident, you want to let your friends know — but social media is not the way to do it. That’s because it is now standard practice for insurance companies to search the social media accounts of anyone making a claim after a crash. They seek evidence that the victim is not as badly hurt as they allege, or that the statement given to the insurer regarding the accident differs from what is posted online.
Another Type of Evidence
“The decision whether or not to stay off social media clearly depends upon how one uses it,” advises New Jersey attorney Lisa Menda. “An occasional post about a neutral subject might be fine, but I would recommend that even these be limited, as an adversary or insurance company would be quick to construe any activity as an indication of an individual's physical or emotional state. Social media is basically just another type of evidence.”
While insurers are obviously seeking evidence of fraud, they also want to pay out as little as possible in damages. That is why they will pounce on any posting, no matter how innocuous, to try to minimize the claimant’s injury or responsibility for the collision. Although insurers may twist such evidence, the bottom line is that it can destroy or greatly reduce your settlement.
What Not to Do
Here’s an example of how things can quickly go downhill with a social media posting. A person claims the accident resulted in a serious back injury, among the most common types of motor vehicle accident issues. While they are supposedly recuperating, they post photos of themselves doing things they cannot do if their back really hurts, ranging from athletic activities or even picking up their young children. The insurance company has now evidence that they are lying about the severity of the injury, and there goes their claim.
Here is where a twist might come in. Perhaps you cannot participate in sports, but you are on a team and go to a game. If you post a photo of yourself with your teammates, the insurance company might allege you were playing in the game, and you must prove otherwise.
If your claim states the trauma of the accident has resulted in PTSD or severe depression, and you then post a photo of yourself looking happy, the insurance company will use that against you. For best results, stay off social media until after your claim settlement.
If giving up social media entirely is too difficult, protect yourself by changing the settings so that only friends or followers can see your posts. Since insurance company employees might also search for postings made by your relatives, warn them not to mention the accident or how you are doing online. If you want to update friends and family about your condition, stick to texting, emailing, or calling. When you are seriously injured because of another driver’s negligence, you don’t want to ruin your claim with a misstep exploited by insurance companies or the defendant’s attorney.
When you take a driver's ed class from Aceable, you will learn more about what and what not to do if you do find yourself involved in an accident. Better yet, you may be able to prevent yourself from getting in an accident in the first place.