Facebook Spells Bad News for Many Personal Injury Plaintiffs
If you are in the middle of a personal injury lawsuit, you may want to consider temporarily deleting your Facebook, Twitter, and/or other social networking accounts until your case is resolved. Insurance adjusters spend considerable amounts of time investigating people who file claims against an insurance company and look for ways to contradict those claims. Social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter make the adjustors’ jobs easy.
Facebook pictures in which you are tagged paint an incomplete picture of who you are. Generally, these pictures will show you having a good time, laughing, drinking, dancing, etc. What these pictures won’t show, however, is you going to the doctor’s office, grimacing in pain, or recovering from invasive surgery. Also, the pictures may have been taken before your accident but posted after the accident occurred. Even though you are being honest about your injuries, it may appear to the adjustor that you are being dishonest.
While we’re not recommending that you delete your social networking accounts so that you can lie about your injuries without getting caught (you should never lie about your injuries), social networking sites such as Facebook do provide insurance adjustors with easy access to evidence that might cast doubt on the severity of your injuries. The last thing you want is a skeptical jury making character judgements about you based off of carefully selected photos from social networking sites.
Most networking sites will allow you to delete your account without losing your information if you choose to re-activate at a later point. We recommend this option over “untagging” yourself in pictures or changing your privacy settings as adjustors can find ways to get around those barriers to your information. Never forget that each time you update your status or add a new photo, you might be sharing with more than just friends.