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How social media can harm your personal injury claim

If you have a hard time staying off social media, you are not alone. Whether you’re a baby boomer or millennial, you are most likely surrounded by friends and family members who are always looking at their phones. Many of those people are also “over-sharers,” who feel the need to document every trivial moment of the day.

If you do that too, you should realize that this behavior could have serious, negative repercussions on a personal injury case, either yours or a loved one’s. If the time comes when you are ever seriously injured and want to seek compensation, you can use your injuries as an opportunity to take a lengthy break from Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms.

Don’t give the insurance company ammunition against you

For example, imagine that you’re hurt in a serious car accident, to the point where your mobility is limited. You argue in your claim that your injuries are preventing you from working and have brought about a diagnosis of depression, because you cannot enjoy activities the way you used to.

Now, imagine that a picture shows up on Facebook or Instagram of you standing around and laughing with friends at a party. That photo will not provide the entire context of the moment, such as the fact that you may have been trying to put on a happy face while in tremendous pain. However, an insurance company will try to use it to claim that your injuries are not that serious.

Remember, insurance companies lose money when they have to pay you compensation for your injuries. They will try to limit the amount of money that they owe you.

You should consider your social media posts public

Even if you utilize privacy settings so that only your “friends” can see what you post, you should not consider any postings totally private. Your friends may show pictures or messages to investigators working for the defense. In New York, the state’s highest court recently ruled that a plaintiff in a personal injury case must turn over photos from her Facebook page even though she thought they were “private.”

While the ruling has no bearing on Pennsylvania, there is no legal precedent here on how judges should rule in individual cases. You should assume that any judge could order you to turn over social media photos and status updates you thought were “private.” That is why staying off social media altogether while your case is progressing is the best approach.

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