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Can Social Media Affect My Personal Injury Claim?

Matt Murphy Aug 21, 2017

Social media has become a norm on how people interact with one another. People post their favorite, photos, moments, and stories on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Snapchat, etc. While efficient networking and communication can be very positive, social media can have a big effect on your injury claim. What you share online often must be disclosed to your legal adversary. As such, you should always be cautious when sharing information on social media as it can be used against you by insurance companies. 

Social media is one of the first places insurance companies go when digging up information to dispute your claim. Social media has opened up a world of information available to insurance companies who are looking for any excuse to reduce the compensation needed to make you whole for your injury. A seemingly innocent photo of a hobby, a comment understating the extent of your injury, or a discussion between you and a coworker about your work injury could compromise your claim. Insurance companies will use information from social media to dispute the cause of your injury, the extent of your injury, your damages, and to cast you in a bad light to the jury. 

Social media is a great way for insurers to get evidence which tarnishes your person at trial. Insurance companies are always on the look out for "dirt" or negative aspects of your life regardless of how irrelevant it seems. Insurance companies often latch on to trivial or irrelevant matters and make them the centerpeice of their defense so long as it makes you look bad to the jury.

Many people fail to restrict access to their social-media profile pages. They might not realize that information about their background, location, reputation, credibility and friends is available to the general public – including opposing counsel and the insurance companies.  But even privacy settings won’t necessarily keep the information out the hands of insurance companies. Insurance companies increasingly obtain court orders, or issue subpoenas, to gain access to “private” content. Many online photos and/or posts become evidence in court. 

If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, it is important to be careful while posting information on social media. You can protect your privacy by using caution when making posts, realizing that once you put something on the internet, it is there forever, changing your social media settings to private, not allowing yourself to be “tagged” on posts by others, and blocking applications that automatically share your location tracking.

THE SAFEST WAY TO NOT HARM YOUR CLAIM DUE TO SOCIAL MEDIA IS TO REFRAIN FROM USING IT AT ALL.

However, if you cannot refrain from social media, than you need to utilize social media responsibly. Here are some tips: 

  1.  Keep settings on “private."
  2.  Don’t accept invitations from anyone you don’t know.
  3.  Don’t post photos or video of yourself.
  4.  Disable the “tagging” feature so friends cannot publish your activities on their accounts.
  5.  Don’t post any updates about your case or send any emails about your case to anyone except your attorney.
  6.  Tell friends and family not to post anything about your case.
  7.   Assume that anything you post will be read by an insurance adjuster, the judge, and the jury.

If you are having trouble obtaining benefits for your personal injury, or an insurance company is denying your claim because of something on your social media, please contact Murphy Law Firm at (406) 452-2345, or visit us on the web at www.murphylawoffice.net. Thank you.

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