PLEASE BE AWARE!
We are seeing more and more cases where the insurance companies and insurance defense lawyers are searching social media sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, You Tube or others for photos and blogs about what the clients are doing while they are claiming to be injured. The courts are ordering injured plaintiffs to produce their Facebook or other social media site pages for the insurance company lawyers to inspect.
Initially people were careful about what photos they posted online and who had access to them but these days everybody is more willing to post just about anything. Your friends may have photos of you that can be searched by your name and tagged on their pages. Your own privacy settings cannot protect you entirely.
Here is what you can do to protect yourself and your possible injury claim:
1) Make sure there is nothing you would not want your mother or the insurance company lawyer to see.
2) Search your name to see that what comes up is acceptable. Make whatever adjustments are necessary.
3) Check your privacy settings.
4) Don’t answer emails or requests from people you don’t know (keep in mind that because of the lawsuit process, the opposing legal team knows a lot about you and could send you an email that might make you think you know each other). Don’t accept a Facebook friend that you don’t know. Set up your Facebook to require an email before you will accept a new friend.
If you are not sure if your pages are acceptable, speak to your personal Ingerman & Horwitz L.L.P. representative about it now.
** In a recent Workers Compensation case our client’s WC benefits were stopped by the insurance company when they discovered he was selling personal items daily on Craigslist and E-Bay. The insurance company considered that he was earning income and therefore was no longer eligible for workers compensation. The case is presently in dispute but it is a prime example regarding use of social media sites on the Internet and the availability of this information to the insurance companies.