How your social media use could affect your compensation claim
These days it feels like all of use social media to some extent, sharing our opinions, thoughts and events in text, photo or video form. Due to this everyday use of networks such as Facebook and Twitter, it’s easy to see how those who suffer an injury might share their experiences on social media.
You must remember though, that what goes online stays online – and can be seen by people who are not necessarily part of your close circle of friends and family. We are seeing a growing trend of insurance companies using social media to help research, analyse and reject claims. Some insurance companies are even hiring social media and digital experts to scan through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc… to uncover posts and related information about Claimants.
Of course, a lot of what we share is completely innocent – but it is worth bearing in mind that if you are going through the process of a claim then your social media use may be looked at. You may think that if you have nothing to hide then you shouldn’t worry, but the major worry for legitimate Claimant’s is that their social media activity is misrepresented by insurers to portray the Claimant as dishonest.
One such recent example we have seen is of an injury Claimant who was putting a ‘brave face’ on the severity of her injury via her Facebook posts. These posts were mostly to put her family and friends minds at ease as she didn’t want them to worry, despite the pain and difficulty she was facing sue to her injury. The insurance company representing the third party in this case employed a digital expert to monitor and analyse the Claimant’s social media use and used their findings to suggest the Claimant was lying about the severity of her injuries and the impact they had on her day-to-day life.
Needless to say, the Claimant was very distressed and upset by this.
What many of us fail to appreciate is that all social media posts effectively act as a public record of information. They are therefore an open channel for insurers to use to further research and potentially undermine a personal injury claim. Even a simple Google search of a Claimant’s name could lead them to supposed ‘evidence’ to use to refute or undermine a claim.
While we do not want to frighten anyone, the best advice we can give to Claimants is to think carefully before posting anything on social media that could be in anyway related to your claim. If you feel unsure about posting something, then play it safe and don’t post it. You could also speak to your friends and family about not posting about your accident or injury, as all it takes is a case of online Chinese Whispers for a lot of misinformation to get out in the public domain – all of which can be seen by insurers and used to attempt to undermine your compensation claim.
Despite the new social media challenges faced by Claimants, it is still very much up to the Court to differentiate between what gets posted on social media and what is actually the truth – insurance companies can build up social media ‘evidence’ against you but as long as your claim is legitimate and you have the relevant evidence and documentation to prove it then Judges will be able to tell the difference.
If you have any questions or require any further information regarding the personal injury claims process, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us: