Social media has rapidly become a place for us to keep in touch with far-flung friends and share our daily life in text, photo or video form.
It is a quick, easy and instant way to share good – and bad – experiences on world-wide networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
So it is understandable that someone who may have had an accident or suffered a trauma would want to relive the event online. What is not so commonly understood are the implications of doing so.
What goes online, stays online and acts as a public record of information. The ramifications of over-sharing certain aspects of your life could impact in ways you could never anticipate.
The relaxed approach of social media can lead to inadvertently releasing far more details about yourself online than you ever would in person.
Once it has been posted online, it is public information and can be used against you in any situation, including legal procedures.
What is often overlooked when sharing information is that, even with the tightest privacy controls, your posts may still be seen by people you do not know, and this includes insurance companies and solicitors.
There is a growing trend of insurance companies using social media to help research, analyse and ultimately reject claims. Some are even hiring social media and digital experts to scan through and uncover information relating to claimants.
Facebook and other social media accounts are becoming a cost-effective method of surveillance for insurers, whether this is through posts made by the claimant directly or those made by their family and friends.
These posts can be misinterpreted by insurers to discredit a claimant as dishonest or disingenuous. For example, if a person is pursuing a compensation claim for a back injury and an insurer uncovers a video of them dancing at a party, this could be used to suggest the claimant is lying about the severity of the injuries and the impact on daily life.
This does not only relate to claims for an actual physical injury. A photograph showing a happy, apparently carefree individual could contradict a claim of mental trauma or emotional distress impacting on quality of life.
If you are in the process of making a claim for compensation for an accident or trauma that was not your fault, we would advise that you are on the side of caution when using social media.
This does not mean withdrawing from using it completely. There are many community forums offering invaluable support to those suffering from chronic conditions.
Instead, you can take some basic steps during a claim to help prevent your social media presence from having an adverse impact.
- Review your online privacy settings and ensure they are at the highest level possible.
- Only accept ‘Friends’ or ‘Followers’ requests from people you specifically know and trust.
- Avoid posting anything that has to do with your accident or injury online, however tempting this may seem.
- Make sure your friends and family do not post anything, however well-intentioned they are.
- Do not put anything on social media that you would not want seen by an insurance company or a solicitor.
- If you feel unsure about posting something, then play it safe and do not post it.
In 2018, the team of expert solicitors at Brian Barr were proud to achieve a 92% success rate in compensation claims involving chronic pain syndrome, fibromyalgia, complex regional pain syndrome and chronic fatigue syndrome.
As they are examples of ‘invisible illnesses’ these are all notoriously difficult cases to pursue, but we are specialists in our field.
We work with and support a wide range of clients. If you would like to speak with one of our solicitors about claiming compensation for an injury caused by an accident or trauma that was not your fault, call us for free on 0808 123 0003 or fill in our online contact form.
We do not endorse any research, studies or sources mentioned within our blogs and comments. Furthermore, we do not endorse any medical advice provided, and would strongly recommend anyone seeking medical advice to contact their local healthcare provider.