When you arrive for your free case review with a Union City car accident lawyer, you have one main question to ask: how much is my car accident claim? This is quite understandable. Your car is wrecked. You had to spend time in the hospital and accumulated bills. Your wages stopped coming in. Now, you are nervous because you don’t know if you will be able to recover these damages.
The good news is that an experienced Union City car accident lawyer can negotiate a fair settlement, which includes economic and non-economic damages. However, the final value of your car accident claim also depends on your actions, including what you post on social media.
The fact is that what you say and do can have an impact on your case. The reason for this is that insurance companies are picking at straws to find reasons to deny or reduce the value of your claim. And they will definitely scour your social media profile for any incriminating evidence.
There Are No Laws to Prevent Insurance Adjusters from Using Your Social Media Posts
At this point, you may say that insurance adjusters cannot do that because it is an invasion of privacy. As your Union City car accident lawyer will explain to you, social media is not a private, but a public forum. You cannot expect any privacy when you post a photo, video, or text update.
And even insurance companies openly admit that they are using social media in insurance fraud investigations. Even if your posts are private, thus set to be visible only to your friends, adjusters find ways to access them. The bottom line is this: if you filed a car accident claim, you should expect all your social media accounts to be thoroughly examined by the insurance company.
Understanding Georgia Laws Applicable to Car Accident Claims
The first thing you need to know is that Georgia is an at-fault state when it comes to personal injury cases. This means that if you suffered injuries and economic damages in an accident, you must identify the negligent party that caused it. Then, you will file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit against them to recover your damages.
Secondly, Georgia uses a modified comparative fault system for personal injury cases. Thus, you have to be less than 50% at fault for your accident to have the right to recover damages. Moreover, the money you will collect will represent your total damages minus the amount representing your proportion of fault. For instance, if your claim is worth $100,000 and your percentage of fault is 20%, you will collect $80,000.
Thus, an insurance adjuster will do anything to make you appear more at fault than you actually are. This will mean that they will pay less money.
How Can Your Social Media Activity Hurt Your Car Accident Claim?
These are just some instances in which your social media posts can be used against you during the car accident claim:
Misinterpreting and Twisting Your Words
You post a little update saying how frightened you were at the moment of the crash because the other car “came out of nowhere”. What is wrong with this statement? During a car accident claim, the insurance adjuster will use your words to accuse you of distracted driving. Surely, you should have seen the approaching car if you were paying attention to the road ahead and the rearview mirror.
Any Union City car accident lawyer knows that there are many instances when a reckless driver rushes into another car without giving them the chance to avoid the crash. But, if the adjuster is convinced that they can win the case, they will refuse to settle and keep the social media evidence for court.
Taking Information Out of Context
Let’s say you are at home, waiting for the next physical therapy appointment, and trying to while away the time and forget about the pain. You find an older photo on your phone at a picnic or playing your favorite sport, and post it with the caption “the good times.”
The insurance adjuster will take a screenshot of the photo AND the date when you posted it and use it to argue that you are exaggerating your injuries. After all, you look quite fit and active in the image. If the case goes to court, it will all depend on which side of the story the jury will believe.
Using Your Friends’ Status Updates about You
Friends and family members will try to lift up your spirits while you are recovering from your car accident injuries. They will tag you in posts saying how fast you’re recovering and that in no time you’ll be as good as new.
Your Union City car accident lawyer will tell you that insurance companies have no scruples at all. They will try to use even these innocent comments as proof of your attempted insurance fraud. For this reason, you should warn all your loved ones to refrain from mentioning anything about your accident, recovery, and car accident claim on social media until the case settles.
The Biggest Don’ts Related to Social Media Use during a Car Accident Claim
Finally, these are some of the things you must avoid doing on social media after you filed a car accident claim:
1. Don’t Accept New Friend Requests
If your social media posts are private, insurance adjusters will try to friend you in order to access them. Thus, until the case settles, you should not accept any friend requests – even if you believe that you know the person.
Although some insurance companies have ethical codes preventing adjusters from this practice, they are few and rare. In most cases, anything goes if it is not outright illegal.
2. Don’t Delete Posts
If you realize that you posted something that may appear self-incriminatory, do not delete the post. Instead, write a comment that clarifies the issue to your friends. Why? Chances are an insurance adjuster already saw the post. If they notice that it disappeared, they can subpoena the social media platform to retrieve the post (yes, they can do that).
At this point, the adjuster will become even more suspicious than they already are and more determined to deny your claim. In the end, an experienced Union City car accident lawyer may win your case, but it will take longer and it will be more difficult.
3. Don’t Post Negative Things About the Other Driver or the Insurance Company
You may feel frustrated during the car accident claim. But never vent online. Talk to your family and friends face to face and listen to your lawyer, who will keep you up to date with the progress of your case.
Call a Union City Car Accident Lawyer Today!
The best thing you can do to protect your chances of winning the maximum compensation you deserve is to hire a Union City car accident lawyer who will fight for your interest. Gilbert Sperling, III, P.C. has the expertise to handle your case.
We will advise you during the entire car accident claim process, including what to do and refrain from doing on social media. Do not wait too long after the accident. Schedule a free case review with us as soon as possible!