If you are injured by another person’s negligence in Idaho, and you file a personal injury claim with that person’s insurance company, expect the company to dispute your claim – especially if your injuries are serious and you are seeking full compensation for your medical expenses.
You’re about to learn how far some insurance companies will go to deny your injury claim and to gather evidence that can be used against you in a personal injury case. The fact is that almost anything you post on a social media site like Facebook can be twisted and used against you.
In the state of Idaho, if you have been injured because someone else was negligent, and if you need to be compensated for your medical bills and lost wages, speak first with a personal injury attorney.
WHAT CAN HAPPEN WHEN YOU FILE AN INJURY CLAIM?
After an accident caused by negligence, when you submit your injury claim to an insurance company, the company may try to prove that you have either invented or exaggerated your injuries.
If the insurance company successfully establishes that you are not injured or that your injuries are less serious than you claim, the company can reject your claim or pay you a substantially lower settlement amount.
Insurance company investigators now comb through an injury victim’s social media pages looking for comments, photographs, and any other potentially incriminating evidence.
For example, if you tell an insurance company that you can’t work because you are temporarily disabled, but there’s a video that shows you dancing all night on Facebook, your injury claim is almost certainly going to be denied.
HOW DO INSURANCE COMPANIES USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO DISPUTE CLAIMS?
Facebook is a temptation that many of us cannot resist. But any comments, videos, and pictures you post there can be seen by insurance investigators and their attorneys and used to dispute your injury claim.
Privacy settings don’t matter. Insurance company attorneys can gain access – in several different ways – to everything that you’ve posted.
If you are involved in a personal injury case – or in any other legal dispute – it is best to presume that anything you post online will be seen by everyone and stored somewhere.
IS ANYTHING ONLINE EVER REALLY DELETED?
It’s also best to presume that if something has ever been posted online, it can be found by insurance companies and their attorneys. If you post it, there’s a good chance that it will never entirely and completely disappear.
But even your posts about what a great day it is and how good you feel can be used against you if you file a personal injury claim.
You should also be particularly careful about sites like Facebook and Foursquare that allow you to “check in” at locations of interest.
If you are claiming that you are in chronic, constant pain, but you are “checking in” routinely at the tennis courts or the bowling alley, your claim will be challenged.
You especially want to avoid uploading any pictures or video to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or Instagram if you have a pending injury claim.
WHAT ABOUT THE SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS OF YOUR FRIENDS?
You are not the only person whose online activity you need to be concerned about. Insurance companies will be looking at your friends’ pages and posts as well as your own, so it might be best to avoid the camera altogether while your injury claim is pending.
If you’ve made an innocent mistake on social media during the course of a personal injury case, your personal injury lawyer can probably keep it from hurting you.
Let’s say that you tell your Facebook friends that you are “feeling great.” Most of us understand that we want to post positive things about ourselves on Facebook – even if it’s just to keep our friends from being concerned about us.
But that may not be how a jury would interpret such a post in a personal injury trial, and that’s why most personal injury lawyers advise their clients to avoid social media entirely until the case is resolved. Even a casual, innocent online comment has the potential to damage your case.
SHOULD YOU STAY OFF SOCIAL MEDIA COMPLETELY?
In fact, one of the first things an injury attorney will probably recommend is staying off social media sites – and away from your friends’ cameras – entirely.
Deleting your current social media accounts probably isn’t a bad idea, either. A Facebook account can be temporarily “deactivated” and recovered after your injury claim has been resolved.
WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER WHEN YOU FILE AN INJURY CLAIM?
Here’s what is important to remember about social media when you file a personal injury claim:
1. Never discuss your accident, injury, claim, or anything else about your case on a social media site.
2. Don’t use social media to tell all of your friends at once that you’ve even filed a claim.
3. Don’t upload any photos or videos while your case is pending. It doesn’t matter how innocent you think they are.
4. An outsider who is perusing your social media accounts should not even be able to detect that you are involved in a personal injury case.
SHOULD YOU ACCEPT NEW ONLINE FRIENDS?
After filing an injury claim, you may get a friend request from someone you don’t know – a “stealth” request. It might be an insurance investigator posing as a friend of a friend or as a member of a Facebook group that you follow.
The wisest strategy is this: Don’t accept any new friend requests on social media until your case is resolved.
Genuinely, sincerely, and realistically, your very best defense from insurance investigators using such tactics is to close down all of your social media accounts and pages, at least temporarily.
WHAT ABOUT USING SOCIAL MEDIA AFTER YOUR CLAIM IS RESOLVED?
You should continue that strategy for at least a few weeks after your case has been resolved. Do not brag online about your big settlement and the cruise you plan to take.
Many injury settlements impose confidentiality, and you must respect the rules of the settlement – or you could lose it. If there is a confidentiality clause in the settlement, do not speak to anyone about the case or post about on Social Media.
Social media offers many benefits along with information and entertainment, but when you file a personal injury claim, the risks of social media outweigh the benefits.
If you’ve been injured by negligence in the state of Idaho, seek medical attention at once. Then, seek advice and representation from an experienced Coeur d’Alene personal injury attorney. In the event the injury happened in Arizona, it is best to speak with a Peoria, Arizona personal injury lawyer.
Get the legal help you need – and the justice you deserve – and speak promptly to an injury attorney. If someone else has injured you in Idaho, compensation is your absolute right.