Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites are “billboards.”
When you post something here about a wreck, a lawsuit, or your injuries, you should assume that the entire world will see it, and think the worst of you because of it. “The entire world,” includes insurance adjusters, defense attorneys, opposing parties, and jurors.
Remember: just because you delete something doesn’t mean that it is gone forever or that no one can retrieve it.
Insurance companies are actively monitoring Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites to conduct surveillance on injured people who make claims. If they can’t find something directly on your site, they may subpoena your records from the social networking site and require it to produce copies of posts or messages that you put on there even though you later deleted them. Many people who deserve compensation have lost their cases because of things they posted on social networking sites. We do NOT want you to be one of those people.
The introduction of Facebook’s new “Timeline” feature makes it even easier for insurance companies to go back and look at what you have done in your past to see where you have been and what you have been doing. This means that, even if you haven’t been in a wreck or injured yet, you should be careful about what you post now, because it may come back to haunt you later.
You should assume that insurance companies can see everything on your social networking site AND that they will subpoena copies of everything you ever posted on your site, even if you later deleted it.
Based on these assumptions, you should:
- Check your privacy settings and adjust them to prevent unwanted viewers from seeing anything on your account. For Facebook, make sure that your settings are for “friends only” so that no one else can see your photos, wall postings, etc. If any of your settings are set for “everyone” or “friends of friends,” the insurance adjuster is just a few clicks away from knowing everything about you.
- Do NOT post “status comments” on Facebook. Those can often be seen by “friends of friends,” even if you set the privacy settings on your account high.
- Review your “friends” list and delete anyone that you don’t personally know.
- Do not accept “friend” invitations from people you do not know. Insurance adjusters have been known to pose as potential “friends” in order to gain access to your Facebook.
- Do NOT post anything at all about your injury, your claim, your attorney, your lawsuit, the other party, the other party’s attorney, your medical treatment, etc.
- Do NOT post anything about needing money, having bills to pay, etc. This gives insurance adjusters the impression that you are just filing a claim in order to get money.
- Do NOT post anything that is inconsistent with your injuries (i.e. if you suffered an injury to your spine, don’t post anything about your recent bungee jumping or sky diving experiences).
- Do NOT post photos of yourself engaging in activities that are illegal, embarrassing, or inconsistent with your injuries. Be sure to monitor any photos of you posted by friends. Ask your friends to delete photos of you. If they won’t, be sure to “untag” yourself in those photos.
If you have been injured and you are making a claim against an insurance company, you can almost be sure that “Big Brother” will be watching you. Follow these suggestions and keep personal information personal!
If you’re in need of a lawyer, call Nelson Boyd at 206-971-7601.