Avoid Posting on Social Media After Your Accident
Jan. 3, 2023
In this age of social media, many of us feel the urge – if not the need – to share virtually every detail of our lives with others. We do this through posting messages, uploading photos and videos, and interacting with others online, some of whom we may never even meet.
While this practice may seem harmless enough when you’re just discussing or illustrating a brief trip to the mountains, a nice lunch with friends, or a promotion at work, in certain situations, social media can become a tool for others to use against you.
This is certainly the case if you’re seeking a claim for personal injury. Say you venture out for that lunch with friends, and on the way home, your vehicle is struck by another vehicle. You suffer injuries and end up in the ER. You immediately post about your experience and upload some photos or videos, so your friends know what happened.
Innocent enough, right? Maybe, but not if you’re seeking compensation for your injuries.
Even though Florida adheres to a no-fault insurance system, meaning your own insurer should pay for your treatment and any lost wages, don’t forget that insurance companies are for-profit businesses. They will use every means available to cast doubts on your injuries, and one of the ways they do this is by searching your social media accounts for evidence showing you’re not as injured as you claim.
The odds become even greater should your injuries be serious enough that your claim ends up in court. In that case, not only will insurance claims adjusters be searching your online presence, but so too will their defense attorneys.
Your best bet when seeking a personal injury claim is to forget about social media and take an absence from online activities until everything is settled. Don’t give the insurer and their representatives and defenders any reason to challenge your claim.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident in or around Altamonte Springs, Florida, contact me immediately at the Law Office of Mark A. Cornelius, P.A. I will review what happened to cause your injuries, advise you of your legal options, and then help you pursue your claim until you obtain the just compensation you deserve. And, in the meantime, take a break from social media.
I proudly serve clients throughout Central Florida. In addition to Altamonte Springs, I represent those in the communities of Seminole, Orange, Osceola, and Volusia, as well as in the counties of Polk and Lake.
Social Media & Your Image
As discussed above, if you’re pursuing a personal injury claim and you post images of yourself out dancing or hiking in the mountains while you claim back and neck injuries, the insurance company is no doubt going to search your account and discover these photos. To the insurer, this is proof that you’re not as injured as you claim. Even just showing yourself going about the normal activities of daily life – out with friends, walking your dog, shopping at the mall – can become fodder to use against you.
When police arrest you, they are required to read you your Miranda Rights, part of which reads, “Anything you say can and will be used against you.” When it comes to social media, remember that “anything you post can and will be used against you.” It’s that simple.
The insurance company sleuths, or attorneys in the worst case, won’t stop at what you post after your accident, but they will also scour your online presence to determine whether there are other signs that you could be trying to game the system for a maximum payout. If it can be shown, for instance, that you have spendthrift habits, that can be turned against you as a sign that you’re looking for a bigger payout than you deserve.
Social Media Use After an Accident
If you’re injured in a vehicular accident, the best advice for you is to cease posting altogether until your claim is signed, sealed, and delivered. You may even want to suspend your accounts until everything is settled to prevent searches through your past as well as your present. Here are some other solid pieces of advice if you choose not to deactivate:
SET YOUR ACCOUNT TO THE HIGHEST POSSIBLE PRIVACY SETTING: This will keep everyone except close family and friends from accessing your posts and data. If you can, also change your settings to make your account unsearchable.
DO NOT ACCEPT NEW FRIEND OR FOLLOW REQUESTS: Don’t put it past insurance representatives and/or attorneys to try to gain access by becoming a friend or follower.
DO NOT DELETE ANYTHING: You may have the urge to make posts vanish that the insurer could use to their advantage, but don’t. Leave everything intact. If you end up in court and the attorney for the insurance company, or at-fault driver, shows that you deleted evidence, this can turn out badly for you.
GOOGLE YOURSELF: You may have actually forgotten everything you’ve done online, so a Google search is called for. You may find something that you overlooked. Again, don’t delete, but take note and turn off/deactivate or reset the privacy mode if possible.
Trusted & Experienced Legal Counsel
Even if you take some or all of the steps listed above, an insurance company is still going to use every means to lowball your settlement. This includes assigning a claims adjuster to interview you. Adjusters are professionals trained to protect the insurance company’s bottom line, so they have their own arsenal of questions and inquiries designed to get you to say something they can use against your claim.
It’s better to have an experienced auto accidents attorney handle the insurance company and its adjusters for you. Call me immediately after your accident and let me handle the claim and the adjusters that come with it. If need be, we can also discuss and perhaps pursue a personal injury lawsuit.
Wherever you are in Central Florida, reach out to me at the Law Office of Mark A. Cornelius, P.A. if you or a loved one has been injured in a vehicular accident.