In a digital age where everything you post online can be seen by the public; we want to highlight the dangers and consequences of posting on social media, particularly after having a road traffic accident.
Why you shouldn’t post about your car accident on social media
The Defendant and Third Party Insurers will do everything they can to pay you as little as possible.
This means they could trawl through your social media posts to find evidence for reducing the amount of compensation you are entitled to.
For example, you may post on social media saying that “you’ve had a car accident but you’re okay” even when you’re not, but you said it anyway to stop everyone worrying about you. The Defendant could use your words against you by providing your social media comments as evidence that you were ‘okay’ after the car crash.
What are the consequences?
What you write or post online could potentially lower the amount of compensation you are entitled to. In the worst case scenario, it could even void your personal injury claim altogether.
For example, you suffered back pain after a car accident. At a later date your friends went to play mini-golf. Although you couldn’t play due to the pain, you still joined them for their company. Photos of the outing were taken and uploaded onto social media by either you or your friends. These photos show you laughing and enjoying yourself, including a photo where you posed with a golf club pretending you were actually playing. The insurers come across these photos and provide them as evidence to show that you don’t look in as much pain as you state to be in your claim. This could considerably reduce the amount of compensation awarded to you, and all because of some out-of-context photos being uploaded to social media.
The insurers are looking for evidence to reduce how much they should be paying you, so don’t provide them with the extra ammunition they need by posting unnecessary information online.
It creates more work for you if your case goes to court and you are forced to explain to (and convince) the judge about your comments, photos and activities.
Isn’t what I write on social media private?
Currently there is no rule that prevents the information on your social media accounts from being accessed and/or used for a case.
What you write or post may be private to you, but what you post becomes public.
A single share or retweet can suddenly spread your private information like wildfire.
Even if your privacy setting does not reveal your information to the general public, the insurers may try different tactics to access your posts, such as requesting to be your friend on a seemingly normal account.
You should also be aware that on Facebook, if your visibility setting is set to “Friend of a Friend”, then insurers do not need to be your friend directly to see your comments.
Changing the privacy settings across your accounts can help, but the best form of protection is always to avoid posting about it in the first place.
Letting others know about the accident
If you want to tell your family and close friends that you were involved in a car accident, then do so in person or over the phone.
Avoid discussing the accident on Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other form of social media.
Feel free to consult your solicitor if you need their advice on what is safe to post online.
I’ve already posted about my car accident, what should I do?
Please be aware that the Defendant and/or insurers may have already seen what you have posted and taken screenshots as evidence.
You should not delete, remove or edit your posts as this can be seen as tampering or destroying evidence.
If you have already posted about your accident or injuries on social media, the recommended thing is to stop posting about it and let your solicitor know.
The other protective measures you can do are:
- change the privacy settings on all your accounts to the highest level possible;
- set your comments and images related to the accident to private;
- and stop accepting friend invites from anyone you don’t know.
2. Pixabay; https://pixabay.com/en/accident-bmw-car-crushed-road-87812/
3. Pixabay; https://pixabay.com/en/car-accident-crash-crashed-smash-85320/
4. Pixabay; https://pixabay.com/en/mini-golf-club-putten-ball-1271971/
5. Pixabay; https://pixabay.com/en/telephone-call-women-phone-2817221/