By Melissa A. Davidson

I have had a number of cases now where a person’s claim or lawsuit was negatively affected by postings on the internet. I have had several long-term disability clients come in with denials partially due to pictures on a Flickr account, and blogs that talk in detail about their activities. The problem with pictures is that the insurance company often thinks they are looking at a picture of the claimant, when it is actually a family member or friend. If you have an internet site where you post photos, I strongly encourage you to secure access with a password. The things you put on the web can be misconstrued and used against you.

Blogs are a great way to keep in touch with friends, but the activities people share on a blog can be misunderstood. For instance, a person might post that he went to the zoo with his family today and had a great time. An insurance company or judge might read that and think the person is able to walk for several hours at a time. In reality, the person may have used a wheelchair to get around the zoo. But people don’t include that kind of thing in their blog.

The same is true for those of you who have accounts on the matchmaking websites. People try to list their best attributes, which an insurance company could use against them. If a person says they enjoy taking walks on the beach, the insurance company will assume the person undertakes that activity without pain or limitation. Then, when the person tries to explain that the walks are short, or they haven’t been able to do that since they were injured, then the insurance company makes that a credibility issue.

So, whether you have a personal injury case, a long term disability case, or even a Social Security disability case, be careful about your online postings. Take a minute to type your name into a few search engines and see what people are able to discover about you. Do what you can to keep this information confidential.