Social Networking and Personal Injury Claims
I have posted before about how insurance companies and defence lawyers are now using Facebook against personal injury claimants.
Spying on Plaintiff’s Through Social Media
There are a growing number of cases where insurance companies have used so called “social networking” sites and the information they have collected online against accident victims.
Therefore, I thought it might be helpful to post a short check list of what you need to know about social networking sites so as not to do anything to harm your personal injury claim.
Check Your Settings
Check the privacy settings on your profile. Make sure it is not open for viewing to the public. For example, on Facebook there are privacy settings that allow anyone in the world to look at your entire website. You can also limit the information to your “Facebook friends” or allow friends of friends to be able to see the information on your website.
Don’t Chat About Your Claim
Do not post anything publicly that discusses your personal injury claim or your injuries. Talking about your lawsuit down the line could possibly violate solicitor/client privilege. It may also provide information that could be used against you later on if your claim has to go to court.
No Pictures Please
If you have been seriously hurt, do not post any pictures engaging in physical activities that you are not able to do as a result of your injuries. It is also important that you don’t allow your friends to post these types of pictures.
For example, in one case the personal injury claimant claimed that she suffered from serious back injuries. However, the insurance company defending her claim downloaded pictures from her Facebook account showing her riding on a jet-ski during a vacation in Mexico.
No New Friends
Do not accept “friend” invitations from people you do not know. While this may seem like common sense, there are people out there who accept friend invitations from anyone that contacts them. It is possible that someone working for the defendant’s insurance company may be posing as a friend in order to obtain access to your social networking account to find out information about you that they can use against you in your claim.
Make Sure Friends Are Really Friends
Take a second look at your “friends” list. If there is someone on a list that you don’t know or recognize “un-friend” them or delete them from your account. Don’t worry about hurting someone’s feelings. Would rather miff someone you really don’t even know or do something that could potentially damage your personal injury claim?
Social networking is growing exponentially and more and more people are posting information online that they would never consider talking about publicly at a cocktail party.
William Shakespeare said it best: “…all the world’s a stage”. When we participate in Facebook, Twitter and My Space we are all part of a worldwide play.
Before you post something to the web think about how you would feel if you were standing in front of a stadium with 100,000 people in it. Would you want all those people to see the pictures you were posting?