An easy way to reach out to large numbers of family members and friends at once, it’s understandable why many people turn to social media to let everyone know they’ve been in a car accident. However, posting publicly about the crash and your injuries has the potential to affect your insurance claim. Adjusters often scour accident victims’ social media profiles looking for anything they can use to undermine that person’s case.
If you want to maximize your settlement, you need to be extremely careful when using social media after an accident. Even if your accounts are set to private, insurance adjusters may still have ways to access your posts. One option is to deactivate your profiles for the duration of your claim. However, for many people, this isn’t feasible. If you decide to keep your account up, here’s how to avoid giving an insurance company ammunition.
Don’t Say Anything that Could Be Read As an Admission of Fault
Insurance adjusters are notoriously picky about word use, and they often try to trap accident victims into using phrases that make it seem like they shared blame for the wreck. If you post something like “I crashed my car,” they’ll interpret that to mean you are accepting fault. Likewise, saying things like “they came out of nowhere!” or even “I was talking to Grandma when this happened…” may be weaponized against you to make it seem like you weren’t paying attention.
Because insurance companies can reduce your payout by the percentage of blame you are found to share in an accident, one post could cost you thousands of dollars. No matter how tempted you are to talk about what happened, it’s just not worth it.
Don’t Post Details About the Accident Or Your Recovery
When you’re fighting an insurance claim, the adjuster working it will look for any inconsistencies in your story. Sometimes when we post to social media, we exaggerate or elide details, or just plain forget something and misstate it. This could throw your entire case into jeopardy if an insurance adjuster catches it. They can use the post to question the veracity of your report and call your credibility into question.
Another reason to stay quiet: The information you share with a lawyer is protected by attorney-client privilege, meaning neither you nor your representative has to share it with the insurance adjuster. When you post anything about your medical history or treatment online, you’re forfeiting that benefit. It could lead to awkward questions and increased pushback against your claim.
Don’t Post About “Normal Life” After an Injury
Even an accident victim who is seriously hurt or disabled wants to enjoy life, whether that means going to the wedding you RSVP’d to months ago or having a few friends over for movie night. These events may be costly, leaving you in pain or bedridden for a while after. However, an insurance adjuster can use pictures of you participating in everyday activities to make an argument that you’re clearly not as injured as you say. Even when these photos were taken in the past, they can become evidence for the defense.
Americans often have mistaken ideas about what living with a disability looks like, meaning juries may fall for this argument and decide against you. Even if you argue there were consequences, an insurance adjuster may claim you’re just making them up. The best way to avoid these incidents is to keep your profile clear of images, video, or text that suggest you’re fine.
Don’t Post Too Much or Seem “Too Happy”
We find this guideline just as ridiculous as the previous one, but insurance adjusters may use social media activity to call injuries into question even if you’re not posting about fun or challenging pursuits. Simply seeming too cheerful in your posts or replies to others can make your story suspect. Likewise, if you spend too much time on social, they may cite that as proof you’re not suffering.
Once again, this is based on a misconception about what life is like after a serious injury or with a disability. In fact, some people find themselves shifting their priorities after a life-threatening accident and end up much happier because of it. However, an insurance adjuster may misconstrue this journey as evidence against you, so it’s best to keep it off your socials.
Don’t Say Negative Things About an Insurance Company or At-Fault Driver
It can be tempting to fire off a rant after receiving a lowball settlement offer or having the insurance company come up with another excuse to delay your claim, but emotionally charged words won’t help your situation. Insurance companies often twist these posts into an argument that a claimant is vindictive and unwilling to deal with them in good faith.
This is obviously unfair, especially because these rants are often posted in response to their bad-faith attempts to resolve a claim. However, it’s a bad look if you end up in court, and it could reduce a judge or jury’s sympathy for your situation.
Bonus Tip: Ask Friends and Family To Be Careful As Well
While we’re drawn to sites like Facebook and Instagram for the social features they offer, these aspects could become your enemy in an insurance claim. Even if you carefully police your language and content on social media, a post made by a friend or family member could be used against you. Insurance adjusters certainly aren’t above searching the profiles of people you know for information that might justify a denial of your claim.
To make sure no one else makes a comment that hurts your claim, it’s best to ask your friends and family to refrain from posting about anything related to the accident. Stressing that it’s a sensitive legal issue may help hammer home just how important this is. They can help protect your right to compensation by:
- Not tagging you in photos or posts, even if they’re about past events
- Not posting anything you told them about the accident or speculating about your recovery
- Not commenting on your page or replying to your posts with messages referencing the accident
- Staying quiet about aspects of your medical history or other privileged information
In short, they should follow the same rules you do: Nothing about the accident or your recovery should go anywhere others could see it. Getting buy-in on this point can be difficult, especially when far-away family members want to wish you well. Reminding them of the financial aspects and the stakes and giving them an alternate way to reach out might help—even if it means you have to give your most annoying aunt updates over the phone each month.
Social media use is so ingrained in most of us that it’s hard not to discuss a major life event like an accident. The most important thing to remember is that anything you say can be used against you. As in criminal matters, it’s best to stay quiet, because you don’t know what the other side is planning.
The only information in your case that must stay private is what you disclose to your lawyer. This is why you want not only a strong litigator but also a supportive team that is there to listen to your questions and concerns. The Law Office of Marshall Silberberg puts clients first in every interaction, helping you find solace in difficult times.
Ask us for help if you were injured in a serious car accident: Call (949) 565-4281 for a free consultation with one of our attorneys.