Status Backfire: How Insurance Companies Use Social Media to Deny Claims
Since the widespread popularity of social media, it’s not surprising that insurance companies have discovered a new way to deny accident claims. There are currently over 3.3 billion people worldwide using social media and over 170 million of them reside in the U.S. These users update what is happening in their lives on a day-to-day basis, providing insurance companies the opportunity to extract a lot more information than is required for a claim.
Think about the stats. With over 11 million car accidents occurring each year in the U.S. and 170 million Americans on social media, what are the chances that someone who was involved in a collision will not only have a social media account, but will also use that account to talk about the accident? Fortunately for insurance companies, the odds are good.
Do you have a social media account? Would you post that you were in an accident? What else would you post about it? Well, be careful, because you may wind up sabotaging your own claim.
Social Media Information That Can Crash Your Claim
With a simple search of your name, your insurance company can gain access to your photos, updates, and even conversations. Why would they do this? For any information that may negate your claim, prove false witness, or give them evidence that the accident may have been your fault.
The type of information they look for includes:
- Evidence of injury (or lack thereof). Claiming you have a broken arm, but immediately after the accident posting that you’re going bowling with a friend may indicate that your arm isn’t as bad as you claimed.
- Timing of status updates, Tweets, and Instagram photos. The incident report claims that the accident occurred precisely at 2:36 pm, and your last status update was at 2:35 pm may indicate that instead of paying attention to the road, you were preoccupied with your phone, which may show that you caused the accident.
- Any personal discussions about the accident. Although you may think discussions and conversations with your friends and family are private, what you tell them can be turned against you if you admit to a friend that you had been drinking or that your injury isn’t as bad as you had let on.
- Previous complaints of injury. If you were complaining about a sore back a week before your accident but claimed to the insurance company that the accident caused it, they may be inclined to not believe you.
- Remarks about the settlement you want. By commenting on the type of settlement you want, the insurance company can adjust their findings in order to save themselves a payout. On the other hand, if you brag that your lawyer is going to get you more than you deserve, the insurance company may take issue and decrease your settlement on principle.
- Updates on what you want to do with your settlement. Talking about buying a jet ski or a sports car with your settlement may give the wrong impression and cause your insurance company to adjust the settlement amount to only cover treatment costs and car damage.
- Sharing attorney conversations. Although you can count on your attorney to stay quiet about your case, if you talk about strategy on the internet, it is extremely easy for your insurance company to find that information and use it against you.
“Vague-booking” to Protect Your Claim
Although keeping everyone posted about your life is addicting, when it comes to legal issues, it’s best to keep the details to yourself until the claim is completed. After an accident, feel free to take pictures and tell your friends about it in person, but try to keep the incident offline. If you absolutely feel the need to talk about it, don’t post anything more than a vague update such as “Just in a car accident, on my way to the hospital” or “Don’t worry, I’m in good hands #car accident #ouch.” Keep it simple and remember that whatever you post can be used against you.
Need more information about car accident claim rights, or what not to do after an accident? Please download our free report: 10 Tips to Get the Maximum Compensation After a Maryland Auto Accident. You’ll learn more about your rights and claim options and also see how our knowledge and experience can help you get the justice and compensation you deserve.