The use of social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tiktok, or Snapchat to communicate and keep in touch with family and friends has become standard practice for many people. Today there are approximately 2.9 billion active Facebook users, and it continues to grow every day.. Whether it is a quick comment, a status update, or a simple check-in, social media is a quick and efficient way to share information about yourself and your life with lots of people at the same time. However, your social media posts and online comments can come back to bite you. For example, after being involved in a car accident, letting friends and family know what happened and how you are doing is important, and using social media to communicate with everyone is a convenient tool. But keep in mind, if you are seeking compensation from an at-fault driver for injuries you sustained in an accident, anything you share on social media could be considered evidence in your case and be used against you to reduce or even eliminate your ability to recover compensation from the negligent party.
Here is what you should know about how social media can impact your personal injury damages claim:
Posting Car Accident and Injury Details
Do not post any information about the accident, including the parties involved, how it happened, if you were hurt, and, if so, how badly. Do not talk about any medical treatment or therapy you are receiving. It could be inconsistent with a statement you have provided already, and the insurance company is certain to use this against you. Also, refrain from posting updates about the progress of your claim for compensation. And never post disparaging remarks about anyone involved in the case. Even comments from friends and family members can be used to cast doubt about the severity of your injuries, your efforts to recover, and the legitimacy of your claims.
Contradicting Your Previous Statements
People tend to doubt how accurate and truthful something is when statements made concerning that situation are not consistent. In any legal matter, it is critical that statements made are clear and precise and do not change over time. If inconsistent comments are posted discussing any detail of the accident and how you were injured, insurance companies will try to discredit you.
Revealing Your Level of Activity and Rate of Recovery
The degree to which your physical injuries impact your ability to engage in everyday activities is a key consideration when calculating how much compensation you may be able to recover. If you claim that your injuries have limited your ability to spend time with your kids, posting an update or pictures from a ballgame with your kids, is going to undermine your claim. It may look as though you have exaggerated your injuries, or lied about them entirely. An insurance adjuster or lawyer may seize upon the photo to challenge the seriousness of your injuries.
Your social media posts can unintentionally show or indicate how much you are physically capable of doing. So, while the picture of your kids at the ballgame may not include you, it could be easily assumed that you were the one taking the picture – which demonstrates that you are able to participate and spend time with your children. What you post can call your case into question in ways you may not be able to predict.
Exercise Caution Before Accepting New Friend Requests
New friend requests should only be accepted when you know the person. The other side may try to get access to your private information and content by becoming a new friend. Because it is so easy for someone to create a fake persona online and hide their real identity, you must exercise extreme caution with who you interact and share information on social media.
Revealing Information Regardless of Your Privacy Settings
If you insist on actively using social media during your personal injury case, at least attempt to make it a bit more difficult for the other side to find you online. Check your security and privacy settings for all your accounts and restrict access to your information as much as possible. Be sure your profile is private, and sharing is not allowed. This will help to prevent your friends, family, and other connections from sharing pictures of you or posts about you. However, you should be aware that even if your profile is private, this does not guarantee that your social media cannot be used against you and hurt your case. Social media posts can be admissible by law – this includes the content and comments you post on any social media channel, regardless of if the post was on your page or if it was a comment or response on someone else’s social media post. Additionally, the comments or posts by your friends and family can be used to damage your case. The court may order you to provide the other party with information from your social media accounts, even if your settings are private.
Do Not Delete Social Media Posts
If you do post something on social media and later realize that it is not something you should make public, well, it is too late. While you may be able to delete the entry, do not delete it! Purging information from your social media accounts could constitute spoliation, according to the National Law Review. Spoliation involved “negligently or intentionally lost or destroyed evidence known to be relevant for an upcoming legal proceeding.”
If you have deleted an account or information from an account, a court order could demand that you reinstate the entire account and provide printouts of your past social media activity. Remember that even permanently deleted content can potentially be recovered and restored.
Contact Us Today
Navigating all the legal minefields that can negatively impact your personal injury case can be exhausting and the consequences for even the smallest of mistakes can have devastating consequences that could impact your ability to recover fully. Having a knowledgeable, trusted personal injury attorney working for you can make the difference in ensuring you get full compensation for your injuries and damages. Your attorney will know where to find the evidence you need to support your claim, and provide you with guidance on how best to proceed..
At Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A., we listen to you and want to hear your story!
When you contact us, we will take the time to get to know you and understand all the ways your life has been affected by your accident. We pride ourselves on being empathetic, compassionate, and caring. This is just one of the reasons we are Florida’s top-rated personal injury attorneys – providing personalized legal advice addressed to meet your individual needs.
From the first call, you will know that we will be there with you, helping you to navigate through what can be a complex, difficult, and emotionally challenging time. We strive to provide you with all the information and resources you need. We are dedicated to making your life easier. From start to finish, we will promptly answer all your questions and provide the best legal advice, so you can make informed decisions about your future.
Contact us today and we will fight to get the results you deserve.