The use of Social Media to discredit Claimants in Litigated Claims

Let’s be honest, most of us love using social media to keep all of our friends up to date on exactly what we’re up to, and we’ve all heard the warnings about potential employers reviewing our profiles to see if we’re behaving appropriately.

But did you know that Insurers and Solicitors also use Facebook profiles to catch out Claimants making personal injury claims?

Consider a recent matter where a young man made a claim for an 18 month whiplash injury to his neck and back. The Defendant soon provided print outs of his Facebook page as evidence that he had taken part in a professional boxing match in the weeks following the accident, and had been fulfilling an extensive training programme in the Gym.

Or the family that were key members of a local Cricket Club, and were listed as participating in a cricket match at the time of the accident. The Defendant provided extracts from the Cricket Clubs Facebook page detailing the participants in the match, and including the clients. This turned out to be an error on the Cricket Club’s part, but proved the basis of a fraud Defence.

More often however, it’s little things that Defendants will use to discredit a Claimant’s evidence. Photos of nights out, early morning trips to the Gym or water park holidays abroad can all be used to suggest that no injury was suffered.

Here are our top tips for social media use if you’re making a personal injury claim:

  1. Adjust your privacy settings

 

In theory, third parties can only access what you allow them to. Make sure that it is only accepted friends that can see your full profile. If you want to be extra careful you can also disallow anyone from posting on your wall without you approving the post first. Then, if someone tags you in a photo, or writes you a message, you will get a notification to ask if you want it to appear on your page. You can make all of these changes by selecting the “settings” tab on the Facebook home screen.

 

  1. Think before you post

 

Before you post that photo of you scaling Mount Kilimanjaro three years ago for that charity you love, think about how it would look to a Defendant trying to prove that you weren’t actually injured in the car accident you had last week. You might actually be lay at home aching from the pain, but to them you’re climbing a mountain.

 

  1. Too much information

 

To make it simple for yourself, you could avoid posting for a while. If you’re like us however and love to post every bit of your day in the office (you can follow the fun by liking the Nayyars Solicitors Facebook Page link below), keep it brief. The more detail you give, the more third parties have to work with.

 

  1. If you think there might be an issue, tell your Solicitor

 

If there’s an unavoidable issue that you think the third party might pick up on, make your Solicitor aware in advance. We’ll always be able to advise you.

 

Abigail Smith

Litigation Assistant

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