Social media is great for connecting people with one another, but it also puts a lot of information out there about you and your family if you choose to use it. Most of the time, posting on social media isn’t a problem – but if you’re about to file a wrongful death suit or are currently in the middle of one, it can be.
Here are several tips for managing your social media after filing a wrongful death claim and how the experienced attorneys at Mazow | McCullough, PC can help after you’ve lost a loved one in an accident that was someone else’s fault.
Expect Scrutiny When You File
The moment you file a wrongful death claim, you will immediately be put under intense scrutiny. The insurance company of the at-fault party will be looking for any reason they can to deny your claim. You can expect them to look into your loved one’s medical records, their job history, and even their private lives to find evidence that would relieve them of financial responsibility for your family member’s death.
One of the easiest ways to gather information about someone is to go to their social media profiles. Depending on what a person posts, you can get to know a lot about them. Insurance companies usually go there first and may even hire a private investigator to look into your family’s history.
What They’re Looking For
Insurers don’t want to pay claims – if they did, they’d quickly go out of business. Their ultimate goal is to find something that excludes your loved one from being covered under the policy so they can legitimately deny your claim.
For example, if your family member was killed in a slip and fall accident at a gas station, the station’s insurance company might try to look for proof of other things that could have caused the fall on your social media, like posting about recently getting new shoes or knee pain that had started to become bothersome.
While these kinds of posts seem innocuous at the time, they can easily be used by insurers to suggest that it wasn’t a wet floor or tile defect that caused the fall, but a prior injury or defective shoes.
There’s really no limit to how far an insurance company will go to get out of paying a high-value wrongful death claim. If your loved one accidentally fell off a bridge due to poor construction, you can expect an insurance company to comb through their social media for posts that could be used to suggest your family member committed suicide.
Don’t Rely Solely On Your Privacy Settings
While updating your privacy settings to show your posts to “friends only” seems like it would be sufficient enough to protect you, this isn’t the case. Insurers will even go so far as to pose as a friend or innocuous account and convince you to accept their request.
Consider Deleting Your Accounts
Keeping your social media clean while your loved one’s wrongful death case is resolved is good but deleting your accounts is even better. Insurance companies can get creative and may be able to use posts from years ago that you don’t remember making or things that have nothing to do with your loved one’s passing to paint a different picture of what happened. If your accounts are deleted, they won’t be able to access anything that can be used against you.
If you do need to use social media, do so with anonymous, “blank” accounts with no pictures or identifying information. Don’t make posts or comment on the posts of other people – instead, use your account to browse without interacting. Stick to texting or calling friends and avoid engaging with people you don’t know very well until the case is over.
How An Experienced Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help You
Losing a loved one unexpectedly in an accident is a frightening and heartbreaking experience. It can be difficult to navigate everything that happens afterward, especially when it comes to recovering the expenses you incurred for your loved one’s funeral and any medical bills they accrued before their passing.
At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we have extensive experience helping families recover compensation for their loved ones’ wrongful death and we can advocate for you after your life is turned upside down by a fatal accident involving your family member.
Contact us today for more information about wrongful death lawsuits or to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your legal options by dialing our Salem, MA office at (978) 744-8000 or toll free at (855) 693-9084.