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The Adverse Role Of Social Media In Regards To An Auto-Accident Claim

Interviewer: Do you find that social media is a problem?  Do people talk about their case on social media and do insurance companies look at that?

Nicholas Lowe: The answer is yes. Every insurance company now looks up the plaintiff, the person who’s injured, and sees if they have a Facebook account or something online. If the client is complaining that they can’t take care of their children, they can’t clean their house, they can’t mow their lawn, they can’t work and yet there’s pictures of them on Saturday night dancing on a table chugging a beer, again they look like they’re not telling the truth. So, everything you put online, every type of social media, just imagine that a jury will ultimately see that. Even things you write; if you write, “Hey, feeling great. Had a great weekend at the beach, ran 4 miles”, and yet you’re in front of the jury complaining that your hip hurts, those two things are inconsistent and you’re not going to be believed.

The Loss of Credibility Seriously Jeopardizes the Plaintiff’s Chances of Receiving a Substantial Settlement

Once you lose your credibility, you’ve lost the jury or you’ve lost the ability to get a good settlement with the insurance company. There are other things that are on social media such as if you run in a race, whether it’s a 3K, 5K, 10K, full marathon, try half one etc, you can look up to see what the person’s time was and where are they placed in the race. Again, if you’re claiming an injury but yet you’re doing something very athletic, a jury may very well find out about that.I tell people to continue to lead their lives, you want to get better, you want to get back at life as quickly as you can but you have to tell the truth and then just deal with it.  If you’re well enough to run a race, that’s great.  It’s going to affect your settlement but people are better off being honest and leading their lives, getting back to a full life as soon as they can.

The Majority of Auto-Accident Cases are Resolved Through Settlement Rather than Trial

Interviewer: How often do cases go to trial vs. settle?What’s the break down percentage wise?

Nicholas Lowe: The good news is about 90 to 95 per cent of all cases settle. There are some attorneys who don’t try any cases, they settle everything and word gets out about that and I believe they get lower settlements because of that. Insurance companies and other attorneys in town that you oppose know who tries cases and who doesn’t. So, trying some cases every year is a very good thing, they can help your reputation. It allows the insurance company to understand you’re serious and if they don’t pay the number you think is right, you will take it to trial, but the reality is 5 to 10 per cent of all cases go to trial.

In Auto-Accident Cases People Generally Get Awarded a Settlement That Can be Deemed Fair

Interviewer: How often do people get a settlement amount that’s anywhere near their expectations, even after you counsel them?

Nicholas Lowe: That goes down to expectations. More often than not people get a settlement at the end that they believe is fair.  The great thing is that if they don’t think it’s fair, they don’t have to accept the settlement, they can go to trial but a good attorney tells the client the pluses and minuses of their case. A good attorney will make a recommendation to that client, “Here’s what I think you should do regarding the settlement offer”, you should take it, you shouldn’t take it or anything in-between and ultimately it’s the client’s decision. Most of the time when it’s over, clients understand if there are any difficulties in the case, what those difficulties are and they appreciate the dangers of going to trial and get a settlement they can live with.

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