How Social Media Can Negatively Impact Your Personal Injury Claim
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
Regular social media usage has become ubiquitous in our society, with people of all ages and cultures using a variety of platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
In 2019 studies found that the average daily social media usage worldwide amounted to 144 minutes. Given how many people use social media platforms every day and how much personal information users share on them, it may not come as a surprise that insurance companies and defense attorneys in a personal injury case turn to these posts in search of information that can help them disprove your claims.
Can Social Media Posts Be Used as Evidence in Court?
Anything posted on the internet is discoverable if it is relevant to the case, meaning that you must make it available in a legal case. For instance, if you have filed a personal injury claim stating that your injuries have left you unable to walk, and then you post pictures of yourself on a hike, the opposing legal team can legally use these photos to discredit your case.
Social Media Posts Can Contradict Your Testimony
It’s easy to share something on your social media accounts that could be seen as contradicting your testimony. If you are pursuing a personal injury claim, stating that you injured your back in an accident, and then post a photo of yourself exercising, the opposing legal team can use this in court as evidence against your claim.
This is not only true for physical injuries. Opposing counsel can use a positive status update to refute claims seeking compensation for emotional distress, anxiety, or social isolation resulting from an accident.
In these examples, the injured party may not be lying in their claim. Just because you have a good day doesn’t mean you haven’t been left traumatized by an accident. However, these kinds of posts on your social media profiles can work against you in court.
All Social Media Activity Can Be Used
It’s not just your posts and photos that can disprove your claim. The insurance company can investigate your location check-ins, comments from friends, and activity in groups in search of evidence. For example, a check-in at a local gym could show that your injuries are not as serious as you claim.
Best Social Media Practices During a Personal Injury Case
During a personal injury case, they could put your entire social media presence under scrutiny. Be aware of this and take the following actions:
- Limit your use of social media and avoid posting as much as possible.
- Never share posts about your accident, injuries, or case online, even in private messages.
- Set your profiles to “private” or “friends only.” However, the defense may still be able to gain access to your profile despite your privacy settings.
- Turn off automatic settings such as check-ins.
- Consider everything you post carefully, including the language you use.
- Do not accept friend requests from people you don’t know.
- Let friends and family know (in person or over the phone) that you will be reducing your social media usage and ask them to avoid posting on your wall or sharing photos where you appear.
- Remember that your online presence is not just Facebook and Twitter. The opposing legal team can access your blogs, Instagram account, TikTok posts, and more. It’s also best not to discuss your case or physical health via WhatsApp or Messenger. If possible, stick to in-person and phone conversations.
- Contact a trusted law firm to arrange representation and to seek legal advice from a personal injury lawyer about how to best handle your digital presence during the case.
Seek Legal Advice
Having to censor yourself online probably feels daunting. Filing a personal injury claim can be a stressful process. However, you can reduce your stress and increase your chances of winning the case by hiring a skilled personal injury attorney.
The team at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. are extremely experienced in cases like yours and will support you through the process, from start to finish. If you have been injured in an accident, call us today at 866-MICH-LAW to schedule your free consultation.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.