One of the biggest changes in communication over the past 10 years has been the rise of digital communications, and more specifically social media. The days of communication solely by telephone or email are long gone. Instead, instantaneous forms of dialogue, whether through technological platforms like Twitter or Facebook, have grown in popularity and taken an important place in social discourse.
In the context of personal injury claims, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have forever changed how cases are handled and scrutinized. Insurance companies use social media not just to sell their products, but to discover insurance fraud. Insurance companies and their defense lawyers monitor social media sites for posts to indicate activities that contradict what a plaintiff or claimant said in deposition.
In fact, it’s been my experience that one of the first things an insurance defense team will do upon receiving a file is go online and investigate the plaintiff’s Facebook profile and other social media profiles to find out as much as they can about the plaintiff. For example, a post by a plaintiff after a car accident showing him or her drinking or doing some recreational activity may be used by the defense team to argue the plaintiff is not that injured or is “faking it.”
We explain to our clients the dangers of posting things on Facebook and other similar accounts after an accident. Although it is tempting to share with your friends the problems and difficulties you are having after a car accident or slip-and-fall, these postings can be used against you later on.
Don’t Post Anything in the First Place:
As a result, the best piece of advice following a car accident is to not post anything at all. Although your first inclination after the crash is to update your profile or tweet something about the crash so your “friends” can understand and appreciate what you are going through, it is important to not do this. If you must post something, then at least keep things brief. Don’t rant and say things you will regret later.
Security Settings Is Your Friend:
One of the strange things about Facebook and other social media sites is the fact so many people allow perfect strangers to view private photos and postings. The reason this occurs is because these people have not adequately set their security settings. Make sure to set your account security to friends and family only. Don’t accept random friend requests. Some scrupulous insurance adjusters will pose as alternative people in an effort to access your account to gain information.
At the end of the day, every car accident victim or personal injury claimant must be very careful when using social media. The best advice is to not use Facebook or other social media sites at all. It’s a good idea to keep details about the accident and your life following the accident to yourself. You don’t want to hurt your case just so you could tell a few random people online information about yourself.
The Michigan car accident lawyers at The Law Offices of Lee Steinberg, P.C. represents clients throughout the state and beyond. For a free consultation, please call us at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1800-533-3733). There is no fee unless we get you compensation and our professional team of Michigan trial lawyers will fight to win your case.