Social media is addictive. Most Americans indulge in at least one social media website, whether that’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or even Reddit or YouTube. But it’s important to know the insurance companies are reading your social media, mostly to take things out of context and short-change your claim.
Examples of Social Media Posts Your Insurance Company Might Use Against You
A note before we start…this post is not about posting false messages, or concealing how you really feel, or anything that is less than the truth. When you are in a lawsuit or dealing with an insurance company, the truth is ALWAYS the best policy. Always.
However, many statements, in fact most statements, can be taken out of context or unfairly used in a different light. Here are some examples:
“I felt so bad for the other guy” or “I told him I was sorry we got in a crash.”
If you said these things, you are just being a normal, caring person. But your insurance company could portray statements like this as an admission of guilt.
“I’m feeling a lot better today.”
It’s natural to tell people when you are feeling “better.” But better is one of those words insurance companies love to twist and turn. Does “better” mean 100% better or just improved?
“I didn’t even hurt after the crash.”
Many people do not hurt right after a crash. Then they wake up the next day and can hardly get out of bed. Resist the urge to diagnose yourself too soon.
“I’m going to take them for every penny they have!”
Claims and Lawsuits are not about taking money from people or insurance companies. If that is your motive, chances are you will not be successful. When someone’s bad choices cause an injury to you, lawsuits are the only way to hold them accountable. But the object is not to take their money, although money is the only thing that can be exchanged. The goal should be to RESTORE your life as close to how it was before the injury as possible. Vindictive statements like this may cause the judge or jury to think you’re only out for revenge.
“I told you to get off your phone! ;P” or “Wow, you were a real party animal last night! jk”
You can’t control what other people post, but by being active on social media you encourage others to post about you. While you may know your friend is making a joke at your expense, the judge or jury doesn’t. Anything that makes them think you contributed to your own accident or that you are not really hurt could cause you to lose your case.
“I’ve been so down since the break-up.”
Even posts that seem to have nothing to do with your accident could be used against you by an insurance adjuster or lawyer on the insurance company’s side. They may try to argue that if your posts suggest you were upset, angry, or distracted around the time of the accident, that your mental state could have contributed to the accident. Or that you are really depressed because of your relationship issues, not your broken back.
How Photos Can Hurt Your Claim
Anyone can smile for a picture, even an angry teenager. It’s easy for an insurance adjuster or lawyer to misinterpret a photo posted on your social media account. People like to post photos looking their best or happiest. But insurance companies will often point to photos of you smiling and seemingly enjoying yourself and say that if your injuries and emotional distress were truly severe, you wouldn’t be able to smile or post happy pictures. That doesn’t mean, however, you need to post pictures of yourself looking miserable, or that you should. Just beware of what you post. Be truthful in all your actions.
What You Can Do to Reduce Your Risk
The best way to ensure that your social media habits don’t accidentally harm your claim is to not use social media at all until after your claim is resolved. Most people would rather cut off their arm. So instead, follow these five steps:
- Set all your social media accounts to private.
- If possible, prevent other users from sharing or commenting on your posts, tagging you in posts, or posting to your account.
- Do not accept any new friend requests until after your claim is resolved.
- Avoid talking about your accident or injury online until after your claim is resolved.
- Avoid talking about your settlement online, even after your claim is resolved.