Privacy in a Personal Injury Claim
Privacy and personal security are becoming a bigger issue in the digital age. So much information, whether freely given or unintentionally shared, is available online. After an accident, what you choose to share can have a big impact on your personal injury claim. Insurance companies may perform a deep dive into your social media accounts or insurance claim history to find weaknesses in your case.
You may also feel tempted to provide personal information out of fear that they will outright deny your claim if you do not comply with their demands, but it is important to know that you can protect your privacy in a personal injury claim.
Evidence in Your Case
First and foremost, you should never speak directly to an insurance adjuster without an attorney present, and preferably you should have your attorney handle all communications. Insurance adjusters will utilize any information you provide against you during settlement negotiations and, if it comes to it, court trials. Some information, such as public records, you won’t be able to shield against an investigation, but you do have some options about what you share in your case.
During a personal injury claim, there is some information that must be shared between your attorney and the insurance company, which include:
- Police reports: After a car accident, police officers will compile an accident report detailing what occurred, where it occurred, who was involved, and where liability may lie. You will be required to provide a statement to officers, but you should only provide the facts. Never admit to liability. If you do, the insurance adjuster may use that statement to deny your claim.
- Recent medical records: When your attorney submits a demand letter to the insurance company, they will need to include your most recent medical records to demonstrate the extent of your injuries. This will also include any related bills.
- Financial records or pay stubs: If you are out of work because of your injury, you will want to submit copies of pay stubs or W-2’s to demonstrate the amount of money you have lost because of an accident. This will be a standard part of your case, but you will want to check with your attorney on what you will include. Insurance companies will not need your entire financial history.
Insurance companies may request or try to access other information in your case, but you do have the right to deny or limit their access to some information.
Limiting Social Media Accounts
After an accident, the best course of action is to deactivate your social media accounts or go private. With public accounts, insurance adjusters and their private investigators can freely review your posts, photos, and videos. If you complained about back pain prior to the accident and then file a claim for a spinal cord injury, they may argue you had a pre-existing condition. Limiting their access to your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter is the best defense against such tactics.
In addition, you will want to warn your close friends about tagging you in posts. Photos or videos of you at the gym, even if it is medically prescribed physical therapy, can limit your chances of compensation. Letting people know that you are going silent online can help mitigate that effects of a random tag or post.
Unrelated Medical Records
Insurance adjusters may attempt to dismiss the severity of your injuries by claiming that you had a pre-existing condition. However, they can only do this if they have access to all of your medical records, and they need your consent for that. You do not have to comply with any of these requests if you and your attorney feel that it is irrelevant to the case. However, if you do choose to show medical records that show you were in good health before the accident, make sure you collect the records yourself and review them with your attorney first.
At the start of a claim, the insurance adjuster will ask you for a recorded or written statement about the accident, but you do not have to give one. This method is used to entrap you during the claims process and your attorney can reject such requests.
Dealing with Insurance Companies Through a Determined Law Firm
When you take on a personal injury claim, there is no reason to do it alone. At Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., our New Jersey personal injury attorneys provide free initial consultations to help you review your case and understand your rights under the law. We have the experience and know-how to handle insurance adjusters when they try to access your private information. If you or a loved one were injured due to someone else’s carelessness, contact us today at (609) 240-0040 to ensure your rights are protected.
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