At our Phoenix personal injury law firm we discourage the use of social media during your injury case. While there are a great many advantages to using social media to keep up with friends and loved ones it is not always those people that are looking at your personal information. The social media disadvantage is the public access to your life and personal information with its use. Despite privacy settings there is the potential for access by undesirable entities that can take a seemingly innocent status update and construe it to something negative or harmful to your case. Social media sites are constantly updating privacy settings that can fly under the radar of users and allow the public access to personal information. Furthermore, insurance investigators can potentially use a pseudonym to create a fake account, despite ethical and site user guidelines against it, and gain access to your page. If you choose to keep your accounts active here are just few things to keep in mind:
- Status updates. Generally not a good idea. Suppose your injuries cause you to miss work and during that time you post about some sort of outing you have had. To the opposing side that could be construed as you are not as injured as you suggested since you are out and about. If you post you are feeling much better one day but the next day feel worse there is now direct information about your improvements despite the fact that you are not yet healed.
- Checking in. Several of these sites allow you to “check in” at a specific location. Suppose you checked in at an amusement park for a family birthday while you are injured. The insurance company could claim that you were well enough to be riding a roller coaster when in fact all you did was sit at a picnic table socializing with your family and having a piece of cake.
- Photos. Say at this family birthday that you attended despite your pain, you participate in a family photo where you stage a smile. The opposing side could take that photo as evidence that you are not as injured as you claim. It is best to not post photos and strictly monitor any photos you may be tagged in.
The best route to safe-guarding against social media is to deactivate your accounts during your personal injury case. Should you choose to keep your accounts active make sure you review all of the privacy policies, monitor who is following you and any friend requests of people you do not know, and avoid posting unsavory information.