In the age of the internet, a keyboard is never more than a few inches away. Access to social media is literally at your fingertips, beckoning to vent your frustration to hundreds, thousands, maybe millions of followers. Most internet-savvy people would reach right for their phones after a car accident or injury to blow off some steam or to keep concerned loved ones informed of their condition. However, new data suggests social media fiends should think twice before posting about a personal injury case.
Insurance companies will try to use any posts, pictures, or interactions to dispute claims and prevent victims from receiving compensation for their injuries. The insurance companies can easily access your personal Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and any other social media site to gather information that can be used against claimants to prove that they are misrepresenting injuries.
The practice might come as a surprise to most of the general public. It is a common assumption that medical records and doctor testimony is enough to back up claims made by personal injury victims, but in truth, insurance companies “actively work to disprove claims made by a victim’s doctor. Social media can be an integral tool in this pursuit,” according to Attorney Brian J. Mongelluzzo.
To give an example, an innocent post about attending a family member’s soccer game or catching a movie with friends may seem completely innocuous, but an insurance company can use such information to discredit a patient’s claim of debilitating back pain from a car accident. They will argue that the victim was healthy enough to go outside and participate in activities, which means he or she is healthy enough to go to work, or does not need to money and medical care he or she claims to require. Perhaps you sustained a concussion from a fall at work. An Instagram post of a new book you just bought can be used to disprove your claim that you have trouble concentrating.
Attorney Brian J. Mongelluzzo also explains that, “social media profiles can also be used to bring fault into question, particularly in situations where there is not an independent third-party witness to verify the events of the accident.” In this case, fault can be challenged without any actually status updates or pictures. Instead, insurance companies have repeatedly used old photos and posts out of context to claim a driver continually participated in high-risk activities, linking that to the tendency to speed or drive erratically. Even more outrageous-companies have used old photos of a driver at a bar in attempt to argue he or she was intoxicated at the time of a crash.
What to do to prevent insurance companies from using your social media accounts against you:
Internet experts have known for quite some time that privacy settings alone cannot protect social media users from the prying eyes of companies equipped with specialists. Instead, suspending or deleting social media accounts is recommended for anyone with pending claims with an insurance company. If this is not possible, take any pictures or posts down that could be taken out of context and used to discredit a claim.
Victims of personal injuries often feel helpless and confused, and we can help. At the Greater Boston Law Firm of Altman & Altman, LLP, our dedicated team of Massachusetts Personal Injury Attorneys is ready to take your call. Our experienced team of senior attorneys has successfully tackled thousands personal injury cases, and understands the uncertainty faced by those affected. Our attorneys are always on the cutting edge of technology, and have a sound understanding of how the insurance system works. We will go through every legal option and are happy to answer any questions you may have about social media protection and the entire legal process.
At the law offices of Altman & Altman, we are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week – including nights and weekends to answer any questions regarding your case. Call us today to schedule a free initial consultation and case evaluation.
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