If you have been seriously injured in a sudden accident, notifying your friends and family is probably one of your top priorities. Your loved ones will want to know what happened and whether you’re OK, and you might need their support and encouragement to get through the pain and trauma of your injury.
Social media offers a quick and easy way to tell those closest to you about your injury and keep them updated on your recovery. However, insurance adjusters often review the social media accounts of claimants (and their friends and family) to find reasons to dispute liability or the severity of injuries. A single post about your accident, injury or case could be all it takes to jeopardize your entire claim. Read on to learn three reasons why personal injury claimants should stay off social media:
1. Social Media Posts Could Bring the Severity of Your Injuries into Question
When you file a claim with the insurance company, a claims adjuster will be assigned to your case. The adjuster will determine whether or not your claim should be approved and, if so, how much to offer in a settlement. The adjuster ultimately represents the insurance company, so he or she will be looking for evidence that can be used to dispute the value of your medical bills and other damages. Social media websites are a primary source of such evidence. If, for example, you or one of your friends uploads a photo of you participating in a physical activity, it may be used to challenge your claim. If you write a text post that downplays the severity of your injuries to give your loved ones peace of mind, the insurance adjuster might argue that your injuries are less serious than you are claiming.
2. Social Media Posts Could Demonstrate a Failure to Mitigate Damages
All personal injury claimants have a duty to mitigate their damages. That means you must take reasonable steps to minimize your healthcare costs, lost income and other expenses related to your injury. Even if you were honest about the severity of your injuries, the insurance company might dispute your claim if you participate in activities that may cause your condition to worsen. For instance, if your friend posts a picture of you playing a sport or doing anything that might hinder your recovery, the adjuster might use it to reduce the value of your claim.
Social Media Posts Could Lead to a Liability Dispute
South Carolina follows a modified comparative negligence system with a 51 percent bar rule. That means if a personal injury victim was partially at-fault for their accident, their financial recovery will be reduced by their percentage of liability. For instance, if you are found to have been 10 percent liable and the fact-finder awards $300,000 in damages, you would be able to recover up to $270,000. If you are found to have been at least 51 percent liable, you won’t be able to recover any compensation at all from the defendant. Even if your claim is perfectly valid, the insurance adjuster might review your social media accounts for posts that indicate you were partially at-fault for your injuries. As such, it’s important that you don’t discuss the details of your accident online. You might think a post would only serve to strengthen your claim, but you never know how your social media content might be misrepresented or taken out of context.
Social Media Tips for Personal Injury Claimants
If you intend to file a personal injury claim or you have a case that’s pending, the smartest way to use social media is not to use it at all. Disable your accounts and don’t reactivate them until your case has been resolved.
If you insist on using social media, here are a few tips to protect your claim:
- Set your accounts to “private"
- Never mention your injury, accident, or case online
- Don’t accept any new friend, follower, or connection requests
- Tell your friends and family not to post anything about you
Posting on social media is just one of many potential mistakes that could harm your personal injury claim. At Hodge & Langley Law Firm, we can help you avoid critical errors and make sure the insurance company doesn’t take advantage of you.
Our personal injury attorneys have many decades of combined experience and the resources to take on even the largest insurance providers. We have won more than $20 million for our clients. Call 864-585-3873 or send us a message to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.