Social media, such as Facebook, is a part of many people’s everyday lives. Unfortunately, the use of such websites can have a negative impact on an insurance claim in the wake of a motor vehicle accident or other type of personal injury.
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How Facebook Impacts a Car Accident Insurance Claim
Automotive insurance companies are obligated to pay Accident Benefits to claimants covered under a current policy. However, insurance companies routinely investigate an applicant to determine the validity of a claim. This may include looking at an applicant’s social media profiles for any sign the accident victim has misrepresented his or her damages.
As such, your insurance company may use the information in your or someone else’s Facebook profile against you.
This may result in:
- lowering the value of your overall statutory Accident Benefits package (for instance, denying your right to Income Replacement Benefits or out-of-pocket expenses);
- lowering the value of your Medical and Rehabilitation Benefit (for instance, if the insurance company discovers evidence that suggests your injury is minor as opposed to non-minor); or
- outright denial of your application for Accident Benefits.
An insurance adjuster or investigator may use photos, profile activity, check-ins and other data to assess the validity of your injury claim. For instance, photos of you playing ice hockey with your kids may undermine your claim for income replacement benefits. Meanwhile, a check-in at your place of employment may contradict your assertion that you were unable to work and have not returned to work.
Four Tips to Help Protect Your Insurance Claim
You may protect the integrity of your claim for Accident Benefits by proceeding with caution during the course of a claim’s settlement. Below are four tips to help preserve the value of your claim:
1. Suspend or delete your social media accounts – Consider removing your presence on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and all other social media until the completion of your claim. Even a private profile may be accessible to someone who is skilled at online investigation. Suspending your accounts also allows you to prevent online friends from inadvertently harming your claim by posting pre-accident photos or videos that easily could be misconstrued.
2. Ask friends and family for cooperation – Ask your friends and family to remove any photographs of you from their own Facebook profiles and to not add any new images until you notify them that it is okay to do so. Request they do not tag or mention you in status updates or check-ins.
3. Keep a record of all conversations – Keep a record of every conversation you have with an insurance company representative. Write down the name of the person with whom you speak, the time and date of the conversation and the focus of the discussion.
4. Ask your lawyer for personal guidance – A personal injury lawyer can offer you personalized advice on how to protect your insurance claim. This is true whether you were injured in a car crash or another type of accident.
Get legal help in Ontario by calling the Preszler Law Firm at 1-800-JUSTICE®. Or fill out our online case evaluator today.