These days, many people in the Harrisburg area love to share their personal news on social media, both good and bad. Marriage proposals, weddings, pregnancies and the birth of children all get videos and photos posted on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. So do less cheery announcements of divorce, job loss and death.
If you got hit and badly hurt by a negligent driver, your instinct could be to trash the driver and chart your recovery on your social media accounts. But this can be a huge mistake. If you aren’t careful, what you post online could cost you some or all of the financial settlement or trial verdict to which you are entitled.
Evidence of lying?
That is because the insurance company you filed your claim with is determined not to pay. Instead, it will search for any evidence that you are exaggerating or lying about your injuries as an excuse to deny the claim — including social media photos and videos that seem to depict you as healthy and uninjured.
Such posts can be misleading. For example, a brief video of you standing or walking could show the absolute limit of your current physical abilities. Or a posting about purchasing a new car could be the result of a high-interest loan, not proof that your ability to earn an income has not been affected. But the insurance company and its attorneys will take the worst possible interpretation of such posts.
Sock puppets and phony ‘friends’
It’s important to note that deleting a post does not really make it disappear. Insurance company investigators can sift through your accounts’ metadata and pull up files you deleted. They often also create phony “sock puppet accounts” to pose as sympathetic strangers, or even pose as a trusted friend or relative, to try to get accident victims to write or post something that damages their own case.
The easiest way to deal with snooping and manipulation on your social media from the insurance company is to stay off completely, at least until your case is settled or decided by a verdict. If you give insurance investigators nothing to work with, they cannot twist your posts against you. If you must use social media, never discuss your case and think twice about anything you post. Is it something you would be comfortable being presented in court?
Your personal injury attorney can discuss social media strategy with you in more specific detail.