Whether for better or for worse, social media has become a huge part of our daily lives. We typically post updates, Tweets, and picture-sharing with friends, family, and people across the world, and sometimes we press the Send button before even stopping to think. The post, picture, or video that we share on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, TikTok, or any other social network may have many unforeseen consequences on your case.
When sharing details of a big event, such as an automobile accident, with your network, you might be tempted to do so, but a seemingly innocent post or photograph could have a devastating effect on your case and on your ability to receive compensation for injury. You were involved in a trucking accident and got leg and back injuries. You have decided to file a personal injury claim against the trucking company of the semi-truck that collided with you on the highway. Because of your injuries, you are unable to return to work as quickly or as well as before.
You decide to see what you can accomplish after the accident and post a status update to your friends and family while at the gym. Later that evening, your companions invite you out for drinks downtown, and you decide to go. You post numerous photos and videos of the event on Instagram. Even if your injury is legitimate and you are unable to work, posting and photographs that show the opposite may be damaging to your injury claim. Insurance adjusters may utilize any evidence that appears to reduce your injury that appears in settlement negotiations. This may result in either a reduced settlement or no settlement at all.
According to them, “How injured can you possibly be when you are at the gym and out at the bars with your friends having a good time?” While they seek to minimize your injuries and shift blame onto you, they will scour your social media accounts to find evidence that contradicts your claim. Therefore, when in doubt, don’t post on social media. It is inadvisable to share your personal injury story until it has been completely and fully settled.
How many people can see your social media posts and pictures? Every social media platform offers users the opportunity to control who sees their profile, posts and photos. These settings are often difficult to access and change frequently. Many users are unaware that these settings even exist in the first place. Beyond protecting your personal injury claim, restricting your privacy settings can prevent people from snooping around in your dealings in the first place.
When configuring your privacy settings, make sure to block people outside of your close connections from accessing your content, and don’t permit your connections to share your content to their friends or family. After a personal injury claim is filed, avoid “friending” or adding additional connections, as these may be representatives from the insurance company or opposing counsel.
Your personal injury attorney should be able to describe the extent of your injury, the negative impact it has had on your daily routine, and how the defendant’s actions caused it. With regard to your personal injury lawsuit, your job is to accurately and consistently communicate the extent and the cause of your injury. Make sure that the description you provide to your family and friends on social media is consistent with the story your legal team is trying to convey. Expert witnesses, who your legal team has specifically hired to describe the extent and the cause of your injury, should not be undermined.
If your injury lawyer has stated that you suffered physical and psychological damage from a car crash and then a photograph of you enjoying yourself with a drink at a friend’s wedding a week after the accident is posted on social media, your legal assertion may be severely undermined.
When it comes to personal injury litigation, adhere to the following guidelines:
- Do not post about your accident or injury on social media;
- Keep your social media presence to a minimum until your case is resolved;
- If you must post, look at the content of your message before sending;
- Remember to change your privacy settings to ensure that nobody outside of your connections can see your messages and photographs;
- Do not “friend” or add new contacts unless you know them;
- Don’t post angry comments about the defendant;
- If your lawyer develops a strong case for your case, posting on social media may not be beneficial;
- Your lawyer’s goal is to achieve the greatest possible monetary compensation for your injury. Social media posting is rarely beneficial;
- Follow the above suggestions to prevent your legal counsel from wasting time on social media.