Social Media and Personal Injury Claims

Social Media Can Ruin Your Personal Injury Case

Ever scrolled through your Facebook feed to find someone complaining about their day? Perhaps you’ve even seen someone complain about an accident, and explain in detail what happened, and how it was or wasn’t their fault. Well, they made a huge mistake. Turns out, when you make an insurance claim, they look further into your life than you’d think, and your social media presence could make or break your claim.

Insurance Companies Take Hard Look at Accident Claims

If you were involved in an accident and make an insurance claim, insurance will look at more than your vehicle. Just like having an online review to make or break a law firm’s reputation, a social media post is important and it is real life.

Insurance companies will do something as simple as a google search and look into your history and social media presence. Fraud is a common problem when it comes to insurance. Many will fake injuries or over-exaggerate in order to get insurance money.

Insurance takes your claim seriously, and will look very carefully at your history. Many people involved in accidents find that something as simple as a tweet could ruin their claims and deem them the guilty party. Insurance looks at sites such as:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Google+
  • Foursquare
  • Youtube
  • Instagram
  • Venmo
  • And more

They don’t just skim through, but look from the date you claimed an injury, and work their way through to the present. They are not only looking at the time of the accident, but everything you post from the accident until the present.

Common Mistakes after an Accident

But mistakes don’t only involve saying the wrong thing. Here are some common social media mistakes that could ruin your claim:

  1. Vent Posting: Were you so angry about an accident that you rambled a lot on the internet to let out steam? Well, that was a bad idea. Insurance will look at past posts, especially those close to the date of your accident. You don’t want to risk insurance seeing that you said something happened that you perhaps left out. Even posts from before your accident could be telling. Did you post a status complaining about a stressful work day 30 minutes before your accident? Something that suggests you were in a bad mood or in an agitated state could cause insurance to be concerned that maybe your foul mood or distracted nature could have played a role in the accident.
  2. Posting Images: Did you claim that your leg was injured? Well, then you don’t want to post images of you running and being active the next day. Obviously it’s best to be truthful, and not claim a fake injury. However, even if your injury was minor, doing something that could be contrary will not look good.
  3. Logging Activities: Even if you didn’t post images or write about activities after an accident, certain websites and apps could ruin your claim. Apps such as foursquare could pinpoint your location, and maybe ruin your claim. Friends tagging you in photos or at places could also contradict your claim, or make it look like you are doing something that you are not. Maybe your friend posted a picture of a park with a status such as “Frisbee with friends” without an actual image of you playing. This could still be a red flag for insurance, who will question if Frisbee would be possible with the injury you claimed.

Preparing Your Online Presence after an Accident

So, is there anything you can do after an accident to make sure your claim cannot be deemed fraudulent? Follow these steps:

  1. Google Yourself: Since your insurance company is going to do it, you should beat them to the punch, and see what they would see. Maybe pictures of you drinking show up. Even if they aren’t from the time of your accident, think of the image you want to present of yourself. You don’t want insurance to label you as a heavy drinker, or a person with violent behavior.
  2. Delete Incriminating Posts: Anything that could damage your insurance claim should be deleted right away. That status that complained about your significant other just hours before the accident, and that photo of you playing basketball the next day. Think to yourself, what looks bad and could ruin my claim? Anything that presents you in a negative light should be deleted.
  3. Be Careful What You Post: It is essential during this time to be careful of what you say. Anything slightly fishy could ruin your claim. Even if you think it is something safe like “going out for so and so’s birthday” it could actually be seen differently by whoever is looking into your history. Why would the victim be going out if they broke their leg? Wouldn’t that be difficult?
  4. Watch What Your Friends Post: Even what people post about you could be the thing that ruins your claim. If a friend tags you in an image that looks bad, you may not delete it in time. Tell the people you hang out with not to post anything about you so that you don’t risk insurance catching something before you are able to delete it or remove yourself.
  5. Increase Privacy Settings: Although it may not be 100% foolproof, boosting your privacy settings could be helpful. Also, don’t accept random friend requests, because it could be someone looking into your social media history.

Ask Your Lawyer for Advice

When it comes to insurance claims, McMinn has seen it all. But if there is a post you are unsure about, chances are your doubt is a sign that it should be removed. If you are injured and need to claim your injury, please contact McMinn for representation. We know the ins and outs, and will help you sort through your social media history, and make sure you get the money you deserve. Call the McMinn Law Firm 24/7 at (512) 474-0222 or use our contact form on our website.