How do insurance companies use Facebook and social media profiles against me in my claim?

Insurance companies want information about you and what you are doing. They get some of that information from medical records, some from oral examinations of you they are entitled to conduct. But they also want to learn as much as they can about you when they think you are less focused on your legal claims. The internet, and in particular social media, have given them the opportunity to do just that.

One of the things an insurance company will do multiple times during the life of your case is simply “google” your name. In an instant, everything that has ever been put on the internet about you, your work, your interests, even your family, will be available to them.

Social media accounts like FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and others are also a valuable source of information for insurers, particularly for individuals whose injuries include chronic pain, psychological trauma, mild brain damage and other injuries not easily identified in an x-ray, CT scan or MRI. Anything you post on social media, particularly photos, is likely going to become available to the insurers in your case. If you think privacy settings will save you, think again. They are often not as effective as you think they are and more importantly, insurers are often able to obtain court orders for the production of social media accounts, which means that those privacy settings are of no value at all.

And why are insurance companies able to use your social media profiles against you? Part of it has to do with the human nature of what people put on social media. Most people don’t want to broadcast to the world that last night, they had a terrible headache and sore back, so they took some pills and went to bed early. But most people DO like to post a fun event, a party, a trip, something athletic that they did, etc. You may think to yourself “so what? I finally got to do something enjoyable and by the way, I was in bed for the next 3 days recovering from it.” Well, there are 2 problems. First, you may have said earlier in the case that you could not or had not engaged in that activity. If so, this post would directly contradict that statement, which allows the insurer to question your credibility. Second, even if that isn’t the case, the problem is the optics. No one saw you in bed recovering (you didn’t post anything about that) and the impression an outsider may get, and what the insurer will argue, is that you are actually functioning quite nicely. It may be untrue, it may be unfair, but it can also be quite effective in helping the insurer resist your case.

If you have questions about how your social media profiles can impact your personal injury case, call me. I'm happy to talk to you.

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