People post photos, videos, comments and more on social media every day. Social media platforms enable people to easily share about their lives with friends, family and followers. Despite the fun and obvious benefits, it is important to understand how insurers may use social media against crash victims.
Below, our licensed attorneys in Michigan discuss how social media could hurt the value of your car accident claim. We also provide some tips on how to protect yourself on these platforms. Get answers to your legal questions by calling our firm to set up a free initial consultation. There are zero upfront fees for our services.
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Why Stay Off Social Media While Your Claim is Pending?
The main reason for this is that insurance companies are looking for ways to devalue or deny your claim. Social media is one of the leading places that insurance companies search for details you may discuss publicly. Specifically, they look for any posts or comments you make related to the crash, your injuries or your current state of health.
While this may surprise you, it is a good idea to remember that insurance companies are not on your side. However friendly their employees are trained to sound on the phone, they are, first and foremost, for-profit businesses. Their goal is to protect and sustain profit for the company. Therefore, they will actively look for ways to pay out as little as possible.
Protect All Your Existing Social Media Accounts
It really is better to fully avoid social media for the duration of your claim. Any comments or posts you make could give an insurer the opportunity to challenge your claim in some way. However, whether actively posting or not, you can improve your privacy on social media by:
- Adjusting privacy settings on your accounts: This helps to ensure only approved connections can see your posts. While these settings do not guarantee full privacy, they make it harder for an insurer to gain access.
- Being careful when accepting new friend requests: You should not accept requests from anyone you do not know or recognize. Insurance companies may pose as someone else hoping you accept their friend request, giving them access to your posts.
- Avoiding “checking in” to public places: This is another way social media may reveal what you do and where you go to an insurer.
Protecting Yourself if You Post on Social Media
There are many decisions that could damage your injury claim, which is why you may benefit from seeking legal help. A qualified attorney can fully handle the legal process so you can focus on healing and getting back to your life. He or she can also help you to avoid making mistakes that could hurt the value of your claim.
That said, if fully giving up social media seems too hard, there are some ways you can better protect yourself and your claim while online.
Do Not Talk About the Crash
Talking about your crash on social media makes it public knowledge. This gives insurers the ability to use it to undermine your claim. You may say something that contradicts a previous statement you made to the other driver, the police or the insurance company. Posting details or replying to comments about the accident could hurt your credibility even if your intentions were innocent.
Crash victims may unintentionally downplay the seriousness of the accident. Casually saying the crash “was not too bad” or that “it could have been worse than it was” may make it sound like things are OK. In this scenario, the insurance company may try to argue that the crash did not affect you as much as you claim.
Do Not Talk About Your Injuries
It is important to discuss your car crash injuries with a doctor, both right after the incident and while recovering. Your medical team is a critical part of your recovery. They are there to adjust your care as needed, even as you start to heal and feel better.
Posting about your injuries on social media, however, could hurt your claim if the insurer gets hold of it. Avoid saying things like, “I am feeling fine” or even positive statements regarding your recovery. Insurance companies may argue that you were not injured or that you have been exaggerating your injuries.
Do Not Post Pictures of Physical Activities or Hanging Out with Friends
When your treatment begins to go well, your doctor may allow you to exercise more or perform other types of physical activities. Perhaps you even feel like you are well enough to hang out with friends or family.
Posting pictures where you are even appearing to do some activity or having fun may call the severity of your injury into question. Even pictures of you smiling could be taken out of content. An insurer may argue that you are fine and not in pain as you claim. Compensation for ongoing treatment could be denied.
Do Not Post Anything That Sounds Apologetic
Determining fault for a crash can be a difficult process. Perhaps the other party involved is completely at fault or you share some blame. However, never admit fault or apologize on social media. Saying things like, “I am sorry”, “I never saw him or her coming” or “I really wrecked my car” could be misconstrued. Insurance companies may interpret those types of statements as admissions of guilt. In other words, by doing so, you are admitting fault even when you are not legally liable for the crash.
In other situations, you may be tempted to vent your frustrations about an insurance company online. Even if your social media accounts are private, there is still a risk of this information being leaked. If this happened it could seriously harm your chances of recovering fair compensation.
Consider Hiring Legal Representation After a Crash
The insurance company is going to look for any reason to pay out less or completely deny a valid claim.
At Jay Trucks, our Grand Rapids auto accident lawyers have extensive experience and are dedicated to helping our clients. We are ready to protect your rights while fighting for maximum compensation on your behalf. We know what it takes to build a strong case. There is no risk in contacting our firm and no cost to talk to a lawyer about your available legal options.
Call 989-244-0356 for a Free Consultation.