5 ways social media can ruin your insurance claim
It’s natural to share big events on social media. Engagements, birthdays, new jobs – it just takes a few clicks to tell everyone you know. In most cases, posting can be a fun pastime. But after a car wreck or serious injury, posting anything could be a huge mistake.
After being seriously injured by someone else, you may hope to file a personal injury claim with his insurance company for the full costs of your injuries. But insurance companies are crafty, often hiring investigators to dig into a claimant’s personal life.
You might think that your Facebook or Instagram posts won’t affect your claim, but here are five big ways you could be wrong.
1. Admitting fault – even if you didn’t mean to.
One of the worst things an accident victim can do is admit some fault during a personal injury claim. Virginia follows contributory negligence laws, meaning if you are found 1% at fault for your injuries, you may not receive compensation from the other party. This may apply only if your lawsuit goes all the way to a jury trial, but it is harder to recover compensation during settlement negotiations if you’ve admitted fault.
On social media, avoid talking about your accident at all. Even a casual statement could be taken out of context. For example, saying you are “sorry” the accident occurred could be used to show you were partially at fault. Maybe you mention that you haven’t repair your car in a while, or that you aren’t too experienced driving bigger cars? An insurance company could try to use these details against you.
2. Accidentally showing that your injuries were not serious.
Many accident victims are tempted to share photos of themselves after a crash, such as a selfie from the hospital or a picture of your arm in a cast. You should take photos of your injuries to document how serious your accident was, but you should share these photos only with your doctors and lawyer. Posting them online could appear that you’re making light of them. Even a selfie at the gym, while you are doing physical therapy to recover, can make it seem like your injuries are not too serious.
3. Sharing your activities and location.
Some websites or apps you may use to “check into” events can post your activities or share your locations publicly. Let’s say that you hurt your neck in a slip-and-fall accident. If you then post a photo of yourself at a party, or you “check in” at Busch Gardens, it could appear that weren’t very injured. What you do in your personal life is usually no one else’s business, but an insurance company may use these posts as evidence against you. Your best option is to turn off all activity or location-sharing apps until your claim is resolved.
4. Sharing confidential information.
Another huge mistake an accident victim could make is sharing confidential information from their insurance negotiation. You may be offered a big settlement and want to share the news or want to explain to friends what happened, but this could immediately put your claim in jeopardy. You should only discuss the details of your case with your lawyer, especially if the insurance company or defendant may be looking at your posts.
5. Letting your friends and family share too much information
It isn’t just your posts you have to worry about, sadly. Even if you go offline, your friends and family may mention you or tag you in photos. If their accounts aren’t private, an insurance company’s investigator could access them.
Casual conversations are also a risk. Let’s say that you share a brief comment on someone else’s post saying you were in a crash too. While you may not have said anything incriminating, your friend might joke back, “I told you not to drink and speed on that road lol” and raise doubts about the cause of your accident.
One way to prevent these types of issues is to tell your friends and family privately that you are taking a social media break and ask them to avoid posting about you while you’re offline.
What should I do to protect my claim?
Simply put, stay off social media. We know it may be hard, but the easiest way to avoid letting social media hurt your claim is to avoid using it at all until your claim is over. You can write a quick post telling friends and family you’re taking a break, and then go private. To be safe, your best option is to temporarily deactivate your account. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all allow users to deactivate accounts. Once deactivated, an insurance company cannot search for you.
Talk to a Virginia lawyer today
At GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys, we serve our neighbors, and we work to prevent injuries from happening by sharing safety information in our community. But when a serious accident does happen, we consider it a calling to help those who are hurt.
My partner, John Singleton, worked for large insurance companies, so he knows how to respond to their tactics effectively. He can explain how insurance companies can use your social media account against you and how to protect your claim. My background includes serving as a State and Federal prosecutor, taking hundreds and hundreds of cases to trial. Together, we will advocate for you with the insurance company, taking your case to trial if necessary to get you full compensation.
To learn more, reach out to GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys online, or call us at (804) 413-6777 or toll-free at (855) 781-6777. We can meet with you in a free consultation and walk you through all of your best options in filing an insurance claim.
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Prevention, empathy, and diligence are hallmarks of everything we do at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. Our community can see these ideals lived out in our work to prevent personal injuries from happening.
- Safety Education
GibsonSingleton launches a “Texts=Wrecks” campaign to reduce the number of people injured or killed by distracted drivers.
- Annual Coat Drive
During the fall, our team works to distribute coats to people in need in our community.
- Hands-on Service
John and Ken join the Gloucester Point Rotary Club in cleaning up the community.
- Supporting Local Schools
The Gibson family participates in Gloucester’s Botetourt Elementary Shuffle fundraiser.