ICBC and its lawyers have been succesfull in obtaining by court order, access to crash victims’ computer hard drives and information stored on their social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The goal, as with videotape surveillance and private investigators, is to try and attack a crash victim’s credibility by getting information from the social networking sites to contradict statements made elsewhere.
The advice we offer at Hoogbruin & Company is the same as with respect to surveillance and private investigators: always tell the truth and live your life as if your case did not exist. Just follow the advice of your medical professionals and concentrate on getting better as quickly as you can.
What needs to be kept in mind, however, is that social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter can be unintentionally misleading and insurance companies and their lawyers will try to take advantage of that.
People tend to want to give a good impression on Facebook and Twitter, presenting themselves perhaps more upbeat, happy and active than they really feel. Understandably, they do not want to appear like a “downer” to their friends. Also, crash victims are often embarrassed by the injuries and the limitations caused by the injuries and are sometimes reluctant to discuss the limitations on social networking sites.
As well, people only want to post positive pictures of themselves. An example of where a misleading situation can arise is when the crash victim goes to a wedding, say for a brother or a sister, and tries his or her best to add to the joy of the occasion. So the crash victim participates as fully as he or she can including putting a smile on their face and even dancing. When a picture of a smiling and dancing accident victim is put on Facebook, an insurance company and its lawyers will use that picture to try to argue that the accident victim could not be in the pain they say they are because the picture shows otherwise.
What that picture does not show might be the pain medication that the person took before going to the wedding and the price paid for over doing it at the wedding – days of increased suffering and increased medication use. In situations such as this, it is always a good idea to report the increase in symptoms or medication use to a doctor.