DO YOU LOVE FACEBOOK AND TWITTER? BEWARE
If you are injured and notify an insurance company that you intend to start a claim, know that your Facebook, Twitter and other social media posts will be put under a microscope by private investigators working for the insurer.
It is very common for insurance companies to hire private investigators and part of their job is to look at your posts & tweets. Why? Insurers want to see if the information you put online contradicts the information you give in your claim. If it does, or even appears that way, you’ve handed the insurance company more ammunition.
Blatantly false claims don’t get far with the Courts or the personal injury bar. However, an injured person’s online posts don’t always reflect that person’s true condition. Some injured people are candid and up front about their pain, loss and limitations when they post. But we are also beginning to understand that other people try to keep up appearances and go out of their way to look a lot more happy, positive and together on social media than they really are. The problem is that an injured person could quickly find themselves being penalized for looking fine online.
Can I use my privacy settings to keep everything private?
You can certainly increase your privacy settings but it isn’t a complete safeguard. Insurance companies and defence lawyers are also increasingly requesting court orders to get access to an injured person’s social media posts. Our Courts are conscientious and do recognize that an injured person’s privacy interests are important. Each case is different and it can be a real challenge for the Court to strike a balance between privacy and producing relevant documents and evidence.
So what to do?
Think about the message you are sending before you post.
And don’t allow Facebook friend requests if you don’t know that person.
The bottom line?
The bottom line is that injured people should avoid making personal posts on Facebook and Twitter until their claim is resolved.
Insurance companies know it is difficult for injured people to go cold turkey and give up Facebook and Twitter. And for many injured people, especially in rural Ontario, Facebook and Twitter may be their only social outlet and contact with others. Insurance companies know this.
Know where you stand.
What you share with friends, you may end up sharing with the insurance company and with the Court.