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Posted on 04-02-2016

Can Social Media Updates Ruin A Baltimore Personal Injury (Baltimore Auto Accident) Claim?

As most of my followers and readers are aware, I am a Baltimore Chiropractor that spends about half my time treating Baltimore auto accident injury patients. My patients typically present with post-traumatic headaches, neck pain, back pain, numbness and tingling into the arm, and numbness and tingling into the leg. Clearly these Baltimore auto accident injuries are not limited to these complaints, but these are the typical complaints that we see.

Back when I started as a Chiropractor in Las Vegas, NV in 2009 social media was in its infancy. Facebook was around and that was about it. I used to have patients ask me if I thought insurance companies were hiring private investigators to follow them and film them while they were treating for their auto accident injuries. I would tell them that I didn't know and that it was my job to treat them for their injuries, and not to worry about who is watching them. I'll admit that I did treat a few very high profile patients (heads of industry with severe brain trauma) that I am sure were being recorded by these defense insurance companies. By in large, although the insurance companies reserve the right to do this, they do not waste their time and resources on the vast majority of claimants (patients).

As the years have gone on and I moved my practice to Baltimore to treat auto accident injuries, I have seen a shift in increased personal injury case problems caused by the injured patients themselves. That is, as social media acceptance and penetration into our lives has increased, so have the number of personal injury auto accident claim denials.

Here's how it usually works. A person is sitting at a stop sign. The driver behind them is texting or fumbling with their phone and before they know it, they rear-end the driver in front of them. The driver in front develops some neck and back spasms and presents for care within a few days of injury.

Before they present for care they "brag complain" on Facebook. The post looks something like this "I was rear-ended today luckily I'm not seriously hurt". This is followed by tons of likes and shares and well wishes. This type of post is the dream of a defense insurance company, because they will find it and use it against the claimant if they come forward claiming injuries down the line.

Maybe a few days pass and the minor back spasms get worse. Or the patient develops numbness, tingling, or weakness down an arm. They either contact a personal injury attorney that refers the client to my office, or they find out organically on Google or Yelp.

We begin a standard course of treatment that involves passive and active modalities as well as spinal mobilization and manipulation. As several weeks pass the patient feels better until he or she eventually reaches maximum medical improvement. Now, of course, the entire time they are in my office they are posting selfies, updates, tweets, and snap chats about how they feel, how they are progressing with therapy, and how well their life is going. Maybe they are showing themselves partying with friends on the weekends while they are in care, or goofing around on some playground equipment on a weekend.

When that injured claimant then turns around and either submits their medical bills and records to the adverse insurance company on their own behalf or if an attorney does it for them, they are met with a denial. The claims adjuster has simply googles the injured claimant and found access to all of their social media accounts. They have plenty of updates, quotes, pictures and other forms of self-incriminating evidence to suggest that the patient was either not-injured or was less injured than they were lead to believe.

I have seen it hundreds of times. I typically recommend that patients, with or without legal representation, turn off or severely limit access to their social media accounts while they are actively treating and while their case is pending. I assure them that rather than worrying about the insurance company following them and spying on them, that the insurance companies now depend on patients to expose themselves with inconsistencies.

I know that it is hard to limit the over-sharing of our lives, but please, do yourself a favor. If you are injured in a Baltimore auto accident and are treating for your injuries, please do not post to twitter, facebook, snapchat, or any other social media sharing sites regarding the extent of your injuries. Anything you say will be used against you and you will wish you did not share your feelings on the matter. I recommend that you allow your treating Chiropractors, doctors, and professional representatives guide you through the process.

If you have been injured in a Baltimore auto accident, please disable your social media sites such as Facebook, twitter, and snapchat and then contact Mid-Atlantic Spinal Rehab & Chiropractic at (443) 842-5500. We would be happy to help!

Dr. Gulitz

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