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Potential Liability Claims From Posting In Social Media

Are your kids using social media such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube?  While most parents would like to believe that their kids are using this media in a positive and non-threatening manner, the reality is that there have been numerous cases where injury of some type is being inflicted. One claim that I am aware of involved a 15 year old girl that was bullying a kid in school and actually posted a video of her inflicting injury to the other kid on YouTube. When the father found out, he was extremely appalled that his daughter would do this

If the injured party brought action against the girl and her parents, how would the Homeowners policy respond?

It is likely that most parents have not pondered this issue. Unfortunately, they may not think of it until such time as their son or daughter is accused of being the “attacker”. Fair to say, it is probably too late at this point. 

Internet-related defamation, libel, slander and invasion of privacy claims are all among the thorny legal issues now confronting insurers, policyholders and courts

Insurance Services Office (ISO)  provided insurance companies with an optional home insurance endorsement that could provide customers with personal injury coverage within an aggregate limit.

The endorsement would "generally provide personal injury coverage to an insured with respect to personal injury arising from specified offenses including oral or written publication, in any manner, of material that slanders or libels a person, disparages a person's goods, products or services, or violates a person's right of privacy," says ISO spokeswoman Katie McFadzean.

ISO's approach was designed to provide insurers with "an additional means of underwriting personal injury coverage.""I think that parents now are waking up to the potential exposure of their kids being on Facebook and tweeting, but I don't think they understand the magnitude of the issue," Kalinich says.

In years past, incidents of offline taunting were witnessed, at most, by a school full of kids. But hurtful comments made about someone on Facebook or a mean-spirited YouTube video can now quickly go viral to thousands or even millions of people, raising the risk of individuals claiming to be injured by such information.

Personal injury is not covered under standard home insurance policies. Usually, you can buy this coverage by adding an endorsement to your home insurance or buying a personal umbrella policy. Both options, of course, add to your home insurance rates.  Please contact your agent to see how your policy may or may not respond.