Social media platforms have made life easier to connect with others, but they can also leave your situation vulnerable to misinterpretation.
Let’s say that you were involved in a car accident. You are injured, in pain, and your day-to-day life has been affected. However, you continue to participate in daily activities and events as much as you can, and you put on a brave smile when posing for pictures at your nephew’s birthday party. You share the pictures on social media, and viewers of who are not in close contact with you might naturally construe that you are fine, that your day-to-day life has not been compromised, and that you were not injured. What your post does not show them is that this particular night out ended early because you were in severe pain and just had to go home and lie down. The post also does not show how disrupted your life is by constant doctor and rehab appointments, and it doesn’t show the financial straits you’re in from lost wages due to regularly leaving work for doctor appointments or because of chronic pain.
Before you post, ask yourself, “Who, other than my friends and family, will look at this post?”
It’s an important question, because your insurance company could be monitoring your accounts, looking for information they could use to deny or devalue your claim. In fact, while insurance companies sometimes do hire investigators to sit in front of a claimant’s home or work and check on their daily activities, they’re now turning to Facebook and other social media platforms first, because these have turned out to be the cheapest and easiest form of private investigation out there.
You don’t have to close your social media accounts. But you should do these 5 things:
- Set your account to private (rather than public).
- Only communicate with friends and family; once your case is resolved, you can go back to posting as you see fit.
- Refuse all friend requests from people you do not know – or don’t know well.
- Avoid posting any information about your accident, your health, or your communication with your attorney. (Your communication with your attorney is privileged, but if you regularly post about it, you could be waiving that privilege, which can adversely affect your case.)
- Remove anything from your personal profiles on social media that may be construed as inappropriate or that could cast you in a bad light.
If all this is too much, take a break from social media! You don’t have to worry; Facebook, Twitter and the others aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.