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Why You Should Watch Your Social Media Use When Pursuing a Personal Injury Claim

March 13 2020 | Blog
  • Most of our personal injury clients use social media. Did you know, however, that a single careless post or innocent picture could ruin your chances of obtaining financial compensation for your injuries? Read this article to learn why and how you should limit your social media input if you’re bringing a personal injury claim.

    Out of all the remarkable inventions brought to us within the first two decades of the 21st century, few have changed our everyday lives so remarkably as social media. For better or worse, our days are now influenced by Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other popular social media platforms. According to one survey, there are around 244 million social network users in the US—a behemoth of a number representing a staggering 79 percent of the population.

    While social media is no doubt a great way to stay connected and informed, our use of these applications doesn’t come without a price. Since our daily routines are punctuated by posts, likes, and tweets, oversharing may become an ingrained habit—and a dangerous one at that. Due to increasing concerns related to privacy and the unwarranted use of our personal information by third parties, it’s safe to assume that anything you post can be used against you.

    This rule of thumb couldn’t be more applicable when it comes to personal injury claims. Since social media has become such a big part of our lives, many people may post about their accidents even before calling emergency services. Others provide their virtual friends with sensitive medical information about the nature and scope of their injuries or rehabilitation. Little do they know that third-party insurance companies and lawyers could use any and all social data in legal battles. Their compensation could be at stake.

    Social Media Posts are Court-Admissible Evidence

    Need-to-know fact: the contents of your posts are considered court-admissible evidence. This means that the pictures, videos, and written updates you post can be used in court by the defendant’s lawyers to minimize or even completely disprove your claim. All such data may be given equal importance and consideration by the jury, on par with other evidence pertaining to the case.

    You can be sure, then, that the at-fault party’s attorneys will do all they can to unearth useful information. This may be especially true during the discovery phase of a case, which is when the legal representatives of each party gather evidence to prepare for court. At this time, the opposing lawyers may comb through your social media posts in search of anything that could compromise your claim.

    So what specific types of content should you refrain from sharing on your social media feed while pursuing a personal injury claim?

    Avoid Sharing Accident-Related Information

    If you’re enduring a traumatizing experience, it’s only natural that you want to share your story with your friends and family to receive their compassion and support. When pursuing financial compensation for your injuries, though, you should be wary of disclosing any details related to your accident on your social media profiles. This will help you avoid inadvertently saying anything that could be construed by the at-fault party’s lawyers as an admission of guilt.

    For example, let’s say that you were injured in a car accident while on your way back home from work. You might post and say that you were tired and stressed out after a long day. You could even mention that you had a bitter altercation with your boss earlier that day. You may add further details; maybe you express how difficult it was for you to focus on the road because of these bad experiences or some other problem weighing heavily on your mind.

    What could be the consequences of publishing such a post? While none of your posts may pin responsibility for the accident on you directly, this would likely be the spin that the attorneys for the defendant would try to put on your story. In addition, when retelling your story for your social media feed you may, by mistake, say things that contradict your official testimony. The at-fault party’s lawyers can no doubt use this against you.

    It is not difficult to see, then, how sharing unnecessary information on social media could cost you the compensation you deserve. In fact, to avoid any risk of losing the lawsuit, it’s best that you avoid posting about the accident or your injuries entirely.

    Think Twice Before Posting Pictures or Checking In

    As a party in a personal injury case, you would do well to limit your social media use even in relation to posts or updates that have nothing to do with the accident or with the lawsuit. You should especially take care regarding two features: picture (or video) posts and location check-ins.

    How can posting pictures or checking in be detrimental to your claim? You may unintentionally demonstrate that you’re able to perform activities that—in the view of the defending attorneys—your injuries should prevent you from doing.

    For example, if you claim to be in severe pain and yet engage in your daily routine in the same manner as before the accident, the other party’s lawyers may use that information to undermine your claim. Even when you are completely honest about the pain you’re experiencing, the defense won’t agree that you were running errands out of pure necessity. They could see your activities in a very different light.

    Is it really necessary for you to completely refrain from using your favorite social networks until your claim is resolved? While a social media “detox” calls for some self-control and may seem a bit radical, it could increase your chances of obtaining financial compensation for your injuries.

    On the other hand, if you decide to keep using social media while your personal injury case is still ongoing, keep in mind that being careless in posting could jeopardize your claim. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to follow the advice found in this article and to think twice before posting anything that could potentially be used against you.

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