Keep Your Friends Close, and Your Enemies Closer: How Facebook and Other Social Media Can Affect Your Injury Claim

If, like so many of us, you post your everyday activities and updates on social media sites, step back, pause, and let’s think about this.

Increasingly, defense investigators and attorneys routinely check and monitor sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, GooglePlus, MySpace, etc., to easily compare claimants’ activities with their injury status. It’s obvious that postings like, “Biking the Boston Marathon course today!” and “Just finished a killer P90X workout!” are inconsistent with many claims of soft-tissue or orthopedic injury, for example.

Less obvious are more mundane posts: “Whew! Just mowed the lawn!” or “I’m so exhausted I just washed every window in this house!” You may have taken 4 hours and 2 painkillers to get through these tasks. Those details, while not post-worthy, would certainly affect the interpretation of your activity level. To a defense investigator or attorney, your posted activities may create an inaccurate picture of your capabilities. More important, without further explanation, they may seem to contradict your claim of injury.

Also, be aware of what your friends are posting about you or the pictures they are “tagging” you in. These posts, pictures, or even videos, may appear to be harmful to your claim. For instance, if you have a claim for neck and back injuries and are unable to work, but a friend posts a recent picture of you horsing around with young children at a family birthday party, that may create an issue as to the extent of your injuries and disability.

Not only can your postings, and those of your friends, seem to create contradicting information about your injuries and physical capabilities, those postings, pictures, or videos can also paint an inaccurate picture of the type of person that you are.

For instance, if you have a disputed liability claim for a motorcycle accident but yet you have posted pictures and videos of you and your friends doing “endos” and other motorcycle tricks on public ways, this may show a defense investigator or attorney that you are not a responsible motorcyclist. This may also adversely affect your case.

You should be careful to limit your postings that are open to interpretation and drawing conclusions, and also beware of who has access to this kind of social-media information. Some Do’s and Don’ts:

  • DO Adjust Your Privacy Settings. Only “Friends” should see personal information always, and especially when you’re involved in a legal claim.
  • DO Review Your “Friends” List. One by one, make sure they are people you know.
  • DON’T “Friend” Everyone Who Asks. Just like Mom said, beware of strangers.
  • DO Limit Personal Postings That Might Be Misinterpreted. If explanation is required, for example, on a photo or activity, that particular posting will probably not do your cause any benefit.

The following is a video clip from Fox News about how a woman’s Facebook posts adversely affected her disability claim which resulted in a denial of benefits:



The experienced attorneys at the Law Office of James K. Meehan suggest that when you are pursuing an injury claim, you should refrain from posting anything on social media networks.

If you would like to learn more about this topic, please click on the links below:

University of Texas’ Cyber Security Awareness – The Dangers of Facebook
Wikipedia’s Use of Social Network Websites in Investigations