Stay off Social Media after a Car Accident
The internet is intertwined in most people’s everyday lives. When something major happens to us, such as a car wreck, it is a natural inclination to want to tell people about it. People take to Facebook, Twitter and other social media to post pictures or vent about the wreck. Don’t! It’s not just your friends and family that are interested in your post and tweets. Insurance adjusters and their lawyers are looking at your social media accounts to use the information there against you.
Its not just pictures of the accident or post about your injuries that they are interested in, they are looking for anything to use against you and your case.
People tell me not to worry, that their account is “private.” All social media is public. Let me repeat- ALL SOCIAL MEDIA IS PUBLIC. Period. Even though your account is set to “private” the person who caused your accident can still subpoena everything in your account. All of your pictures, posts, check-in, tweets and shares. Even if you have deleted them.
We once had a client who was injured at work. He already had a vacation planned to a beach nearby with his children. Rather than disappoint the children, the family still went on the vacation. He spent the entire vacation lying around and on pain medication. He could not lift anything over ten pounds, so his wife got to lug all the beach gear over the dunes. He could not go fishing with his kids or take them to putt-putt. He posted smiling pictures from the trip of him laying in a beach chair with his children playing nearby. Those pictures were used to say “hey, he doesn’t seem that hurt.” “I wish some one would pay me to take a vacation.”
We have heard of the insurance company using post from Facebook which just mention family dinners and church gatherings to show that the injured person’s life had not been affected by the accident.
Insurance companies are looking for post that say “hey, I just left the doctor and I feel great.” “Today is a great day. The sun is shining and I am so blessed.” “Girls night!”
The best thing you can do is to delete your account on social media.
The best thing you can do after an injury is to delete your accounts on social media. If you are unwilling to delete your accounts or go inactive on social media, at least:
Don’t accept friend requests from people who you don’t know personally.
Don’t write anything about the accident. Anything-that includes: what happened, the people involved, photos or how you are both physically and mentally.
Don’t post vacation pictures, workout pictures or photos of you doing anything that casts doubt on you being injured.
Don’t answer questions that people ask about what happened, or how you are now.
Don’t write statuses about ‘how you are feeling’ – even by talking about how you are happy today.
Don’t tag into places. “John Doe was at the gym.” “John Doe was at a nice restaurant.”
If you have to upload photos, think about whether it will harm or help your case. You can’t go claiming a back injury when you are posting pictures of you having spent the day water skiing or kayaking
If people have tagged you in photos on Facebook, select ‘only me’ in the options of who can see your tagged photos
Don’t join any discussions or groups with people that you don’t know, or about subjects which could affect your claim
You can remove yourself from search results on Facebook by selecting ‘only friends’ under ‘search visibility.’
Remove your Facebook page from Google searches by going to ‘Privacy Settings’ on your Facebook page and un-checking the ‘Public Search Listing’ box.
Don’t assume that Instagram, Snapchat or other apps are safe. Insurance companies can even see if you are giving businesses reviews on Yelp.
None of these steps will keep you safe if the insurance company decides to subpoena this information, but at least they won’t be able to see anything until they issue the subpoena.
Insurance companies send their adjuster, claims representatives and attorneys to classes and seminars on how to use social media against you. Don’t give them anything to work with.
If you would like to speak with a lawyer regarding your car accident case, please call Venus Poe at 864-963-0310.
The information you obtain in this article is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should not read this article to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction in which you may have a case.