The short answer is “yes.”
It is common these days for insurance investigators and defense lawyers to search your entries on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Foursquare, Google Plus, YouTube, Pinterest and other social networking sites (or as I heard one wag call them recently, “procrastination portals.”) Investigation of these sites is now de rigueur in injury claims, especially as the claim grows larger and become more costly to the insurance company.
The defense is looking at your posts and tweets, your pictures and your comments on other people’s social media entries. But it doesn’t stop there. They are also investigating posts, tweets, pictures, etc. that have been posted by other people concerning you.
So, what do you do about social media if you have a pending injury claim?
The best protection, but the most drastic approach, is to shut down your social media accounts until your claim has been resolved.
That will work fairly well, but social media entries made by your friends about you may still be used against you.
If you do not want to close your social media accounts completely, you can reduce your exposure by adjusting the privacy settings for your Facebook account so that only people you select as friends can read your status updates or view photos on your account. And you can make sure privacy settings on Twitter are set to “Protect my Tweets” to limit who can read your timeline.
However, social media entries by your friends may still be accessible. And, if you end up filing a case in court, the defense will ask you to produce your social media entries, even if they are not visible to the public.
If you leave your accounts open, at the very least, you should be prudent when you post to your social media accounts. Before you press the “send” or “enter” key, ask yourself “how can this be misinterpreted or used to create a false impression?” If it can be, then the best thing to do is to not make the post. Zip your electronic lip.
Injury claims are not the only area of the law where social media is playing an increasing role. It is also widely used in the employment area, as well as in family law cases.
**This article is designed to provide helpful information that can be read within 2 minutes. It is neither a full explanation of this subject nor legal advice. To learn more, and to get legal advice on which you can rely, contact me or another lawyer.