This is the third installment of my series on Facebook and other Social Media as they relate to Disability Insurance and ERISA Disability claims and lawsuits. Today’s topic deals with a common question I get from my clients: “If hide my Facebook wall, will the disability insurance company be able to get access to it?“
Actually, most people don’t say it that way. Instead, they tell me: “Oh, Facebook is not a problem. I hid my wall.”
Really? Nope. Don’t count on it. Just because you hide your Facebook wall does not mean that someone will not see it.
First, investigators tell me there are ways to see someone’s wall (or at least parts of it) on Facebook even if they “hide” it.
Second, if you have a Facebook page, you still have a profile picture and your name and basic info out on the web. At the very least, the disability insurance adjuster knows you have a Facebook profile, they just cannot see it. They may simply ask you to produce copies of your content. If you refuse, they may threaten to or actually deny or terminate your claim. “They can’t do that!” you say. Maybe, but you will need to sue them to get them to undo it and start paying benefits. That will cost you time and money…and you will not have your disability income coming while you sue them. Do you need that hassle?
Third, I-T guys tell me that there are also web pages that allow someone to see webpages that were posted in the past. Even if you close your wall now, I have had web guys tell me that some or all of it may still be cached somewhere in the cloud for others to view.
Fourth – and perhaps the most problematic – if your disability claim turns into a lawsuit because the disability insurance company denies it, a judge has the power to make you produce copies of EVERY page, picture, post, etc. in the discovery phase of the lawsuit. A judge could also make you produce your username and password. More and more, insurance company attorneys are trying to discover the content of your Facebook and other social media accounts. You can expect to receive requests to identify your online username and to identify what online social media you use. You may also get request to identify your Facebook friends’ identities.
If you think that the solution is to lie and respond to an insurance adjuster’s or insurance defense attorney’s discovery requests by saying that you do not have any online social media accounts, think again. Depending on how the adjuster asks, a non-truthful or not totally complete answer could be insurance fraud, a felony. If you are in a lawsuit, your state’s perjury, contempt, and discovery laws may cause you problems. While a judge may not throw you in jail for lying in discovery, you may face a serious penalty like having your lawsuit dismissed or being forced to pay the insurance company’s attorney fees and costs.
In the end, hiding your Facebook wall likely will not hide much of anything from your disability insurance company. I recommend you go back to the second article in this series, Happy New Year!…Now Lets Talk About Whether You Want a Facebook Account.
Next in this series: Are you a twit if you tweet on your Twitter account when you have a disability insurance claim?
Disability claim denied? Call Attorney John Tucker for a free consultation – nationwide toll free: (866) 282-5260.