Social media has become a routine part of our lives. In times of trouble and joy, we turn to social media to update everyone, from our closest friends to complete strangers. However, social media is a potent, dangerous tool that can hurt your personal injury case if you do not use it responsibly. In this article, we will go over how social media can impact your ability to receive total compensation and how to protect yourself from the negative impact of social media in personal injury cases.
Social Media As Evidence
In personal injury cases, insurance companies or defense attorneys will often dive deep into the plaintiff’s social media accounts to look for evidence that discredits or contradicts their injury claims. A court can order your social media posts as evidence that can be used to weaken your case, even if they are not in the context of your specific injury claim. Their goal is to paint your character as unreliable or your story as false or exaggerated. Social media posts that discredit your injury claim or character can result in no compensation, reduced compensation, or the dismissal of a case.
How to Protect Yourself
Make Your Account Private
Unfortunately, your content is not entirely safe under a private account, but making your account private and monitoring unknown people who request to follow you is a solid first line of defense. Insurance companies, investigators, or opposing counsel can create fake social media accounts to try to find information from your social media accounts that will reduce your credibility. Ignore or delete these requests, and do not accept any follow or friend requests from usernames you do not recognize.
Monitor What You Post
While it is best to avoid posting at all to reduce the impact on your narrative/case, the most important things to avoid posting about are:
- Any content related to the accident (such as specific legal details, admission of fault, discussion of injury or damage, or references to the defendant, attorney, or insurance company)
- Posts that show you are in healthy physical or mental condition (such as going to the gym, traveling, working, or socializing)
- Activity that may contribute to your injury or prevent your recovery
- Personal details about yourself
- Any post that can be taken out of context
Additionally, do not delete or alter any existing posts because that could look like an attempt to hide information or evidence. Third-party servers can recover deleted and private posts, allowing insurance companies to use them as evidence in court. The best practice is to stop posting and engaging on social media while the case occurs.
Monitor Your Interactions With Others on Social Media
Understand that what you comment on other people’s posts, what people comment on your posts, and what content you are tagged in can also be used as evidence in court. You could have a private account, but commenting on a friend’s post with a public profile is more easily accessible and, therefore, risky.
Contacting an Attorney
Establishing negligence and pursuing legal action in a personal injury case can be complex, especially when social media is involved. Contact a seasoned attorney at Whetstone, Perkins & Fulda today to discuss the next steps you or your loved one could take to pursue fair compensation.