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How Social Media Impacts a Personal Injury Claim

Social media has become a common way for us to communicate. But, we should all know by now that what we say on social media is rarely private, and nearly impossible to scrub off the internet completely once it’s out there. This can be severe problem if you’ve made a personal injury claim.

Social media has become the first place insurance companies look to investigate injury claims. While there are certain aspects of a social media post that can help your case, more often than not, your profile will be scrutinized for any signs that your injury isn’t as severe as you’ve reported. There have been some instances where social media posts have been used to get injury cases completely thrown out. So, if you’ve been injured and are considering making a personal injury claim, keep these factors in mind before you post.

1) You may accidentally prove a preexisting condition

Our social media profiles are usually open for anyone to see. Even if not to the general public, friend, and friends of friends, get a sneak peek at what we’re doing, what we’re buying, and what we’re looking at. Simply by “liking” a health or wellness page, you may accidentally imply that you had a preexisting condition.

If you’re in a car accident and you hit your head, you would probably seek medical treatment for that injury. Head injuries, whether an open wound or a concussion, can be very serious and can lead to a host of problems, like headache, dizziness, and nausea. But what happens if you’ve been looking at health pages about treating headaches before your accident? Even if you know your headache research is completely unrelated to your post-accident symptoms, you’ve still inadvertently created some doubt surrounding your case. There’s now room for an argument that you had a preexisting condition.

This isn’t to say you can’t be part of an online community. Just be aware that nothing online is ever completely private. Always make sure your account has privacy settings turned on, and be mindful of what you’re “liking” and posting, especially if you’re making a personal injury claim.

2) What can help you might also hurt you

There are certain aspects of a post that can be helpful when you’ve been in an accident. Pictures and posts show the date, time, and even location of where that post came from. This can be a huge help if you’re documenting an accident or capturing photos with timestamps and GPS coordinates. Used wisely, these posts can help you win your case.

They can also hurt your case if you’re not careful. If you’ve made a claim based on severe personal injuries on Monday, but come Saturday you’re posting pictures and videos of yourself out being active with friends or family, you’ve just handed over evidence that your injuries aren’t really that severe.

Remember, videos and photos only show a few brief moments in time. Your pain may still be very real and very present, but if your pain isn’t clear and obvious in that briefly captured moment, your credibility could be called into question. Your social media posts don’t tell the full story of your accident, and that could be used against you. Again, use common sense and discretion with your online presence after you’ve been in an accident.

3) Lock your profile

There are a few things you can do to protect your personal injury case without shutting down your online profile:

  • Think before you post!
  • Make your profile private
  • Don’t post any details of your accident
  • Don’t share any financial details of your case
  • Turn off the tagging feature for comments, pictures, and videos (because other people’s posts can do just as much damage to your case!)
  • Don’t post updates about your recovery, returning to work, getting “back to normal,” or anything that could make your injury look less severe

To be safe, you may even consider discussing your social media usage with your personal injury lawyers. They may have additional advice unique to you and your case that could protect you.

Social media is a great way for people to connect and share ideas, but that sharing may come back to bite you during a personal injury case if you aren’t careful. Always remember to use common sense and discretion when you’ve been in an accident. The outcome of your case is more important than a status update!

Attorney David Goldman has a strong belief that everyone should be treated fairly and those with the means should do what they can to bring justice in all areas of our society. That belief has led him to help Florida's injured from being taken advantage of by corporations and insurance companies. Since 1989 David Goldman has been fighting for the rights of Floridians both as an attorney and by personally supporting our community.

How Social Media Impacts a Personal Injury Claim

Goldman Babboni Fernandez
Murphy & Walsh

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