Can social media hurt my insurance claim?

In recent times, social media websites like “Facebook”, “Blogger”, and “Myspace” and “Twitter” have become an excellent source for insurance companies to investigate claimants. When you post something on these social media websites, the world can look at what you have posted. For example, you may mention, on a social media site that you went on a trip, hiked a mountain, went on a skiing trip, enjoyed socializing with your friends, etc. In so doing, the insurer will likely find out this information and use it against you.

Imagine if the insurance company downloads some photographs of you doing an activity and then uses it in Court against you to say you are not injured?

Imagine if an insurance investigator starts interviewing people that went to an event which you described on a website? Imagine if you talk about getting drunk with some friends? Imagine if you post something that may not be socially acceptable?

Occasionally, insurers or their investigator will access a claimant’s personal information by inventing a “friend” who then contacts you for access. the investigator then thoroughly searches the sites, looking for photographs, notes, blogs, etc. Their purpose is to find photographs of a claimant in situations that could be damaging to the case in front of a judge or jury (eg. drinking or being drunk at a party, engaging in contact or other sports, traveling to far off destinations for vacations, etc…). As well, the investigator looks for notes where a claimant has talked about the case, how s/he is feeling, what s/he will be doing next weekend, and so on. Generally, the insurer looks for anything online that will hurt your case.

Insurers will sometimes bring a Court Application to compel production of the social media account contents if they cannot access the information through the back door. Therefore, even if you maintain a limited number of friends and a tight privacy setting the insurance investigator can get copies of your postings.

Therefore, the rule of thumb when posting anything on a social media website is to assume someone from the insurance comapny or the defense team will be reading it. If it is harmful to your case, don’t post it.