How social media could reduce your personal injury compensation
The objective for making a personal injury claim and recovering compensation is to put you back in the position (at least financially) that you would have been in had the accident not occurred – this is done by maximising the amount of compensation that is recovered for you.
The compensator, such as an insurance company or any proposed defendant, will therefore take whatever steps necessary to try to undermine your claim and minimise the amount of compensation that you are able to recover.
Ordinarily, the insurer or defendant would instruct private investigator to conduct covert surveillance on anyone making a claim to minimise their damages, and whilst this is still a common strategy deployed even today, snooping on your Facebook, Instagram and other social media accounts is becoming an alternative method of covert surveillance for insurers or defendants to undermine your claim.
The danger is that your posts or comments on your social media accounts may be relied upon by the insurers or defendants to illustrate that these (the comments or posts made) are not consistent with the claim being brought against them, which has the potential consequence of the entire claim being thrown out. An example of this is a Claimant who stated they cannot work due to their injured hand posting a picture of their latest DIY project!
Even if the post or photo is not of you, it can still be used against you. For example, if you are claiming you have an ankle injury but post a picture of your children ice-skating, which could only be taken by the photographer being on the ice, the inference would be that you took it. Your ankle injury can’t be too bad if you could wear the ice skates and go ice skating. There are many ways in which social media comments, posts or photographs can affect your claim.
Personal injury claims are not limited to physical injuries but also include psychological injuries – social media can be troublesome in this regard too as people generally only share happy and positive news and may even exaggerate such news. A photo showing a smiling and happy claimant can contradict a claim of psychological trauma affecting your quality of life. That is not to say that the claimants should stay off social media completely, there are many support groups online that can provide guidance and advice and may be the only means of contact with the outside world if you are seriously injured, especially in a post-covid world.
It is extremely important that you exercise caution in relation to your social media accounts when making a personal injury claim as these are most likely being viewed by the insurers or defendants in the hope of finding inconsistencies or discrepancies with your claim.
If you want to post on social media when making a personal injury claim, my suggestion is that you change your online privacy setting, only accept friends or follow requests from people you know and do not put anything on social media that you would not want an insurance company or the defendant to see.
If you aren’t sure whether you should post something, then don’t post it!!