Be Careful What You Post On Social Media
People who are involved in car accidents should use discretion when posting to their social media accounts. Data from Pew Research Center suggests that approximately seven out of every 10 people in the U.S. use some type of social media platform. Social media users participate on these platforms for a variety of reasons, including to entertain themselves, to connect with others, and to share information. Sometimes, however, others may use people’s posts to create alternative pictures or facts.
Using Victim’s Posts Against Them
After a car accident , the insurance companies or at-fault drivers’ attorneys may access victims’ social media and use their posts against them. In such cases, the pictures, thoughts, and other information shared innocently with people’s connections may be used as admissions of fault, to claim no injury occurred, or as a signal of bad faith on the part of the victims.
Insurance adjusters may take casual posts or comments about wrecks and interpret them as admissions of fault, even when the drivers bear no culpability in the accidents’ causes. Financial liability for injuries and damages suffered in auto collisions often comes down to which drivers caused the crashes. If drivers admit fault or seem to have admitted fault, the insurance company may use those statements as cause to deny compensation. For instance, people may post that they struck a vehicle they never saw coming, and the insurance companies may consider this as the drivers admitting they caused the accidents. Consequently, the insurance companies may refuse to pay for the damages and injuries caused by the collisions.
Claiming No Injury Occurred
Following auto accidents, insurance adjusters may point to pictures posted on social media sites as evidence that victims’ injuries are not as serious as they claim. Photos may capture and preserve a moment in time; however, they rarely tell the whole story. For example, a man who suffered a serious leg injury in a car wreck posted a picture of himself at a family barbecue. Although he stood with great difficulty only for as long as it took to take the photo, the insurance company used the picture to claim the man did not have limited mobility due to the accident as he claimed.
In some cases, insurance companies may also argue that posting too much or continuing to post as normal indicates victims did not suffer any pain or emotional trauma due to the crashes and their resulting injuries. On these grounds, insurance companies may attempt to deny compensating people injured in motor vehicle collisions for their emotional pain and suffering.
Signaling Bad Faith
Making posts about injuries after auto wrecks may seem like just venting one’s frustrations. However, insurance companies may view it as a sign of bad faith if people put their frustrations with the insurance claim process in writing on social media. Insurance companies may argue they do not have to negotiate with victims because the victims were not acting in good faith when they posted to social media.
Handling Social Media After A Crash
Taking certain precautions with their social media accounts following car accidents may help those who suffer injuries to protect their rights. After auto collisions, people may benefit from placing all their social media accounts on private, if they have not done so already. They should keep in mind, however, that their posts may still become public and use discretion when posting. People should also avoid adding any unknown friends or followers.
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