Nowadays, social media is just part of life. While it makes communicating with family and socializing easy, it has its negative side, too. It can have adverse effects on mental health, and it can unexpectedly ruin a personal injury case.
Active social media users post everything that happens in their lives. You may have seen social media posts from people discussing an accident they were just involved in.
Posting the details of an accident seems innocent, but it can damage your personal injury case.
Why You Should Avoid Posting on Social Media During a Personal Injury Claim
Your Posts Might Contradict the Details of Your Claim
Accident victims pursue personal injury cases because they were injured in an accident. You may have broken an arm, suffered head injuries, or experience chronic pain. Such injuries justify victims in claiming compensation to settle hospital bills and other non-economic damages that result from the accident.
Now imagine the message you are sending to the world by posting a hiking photo soon after your crash. The defendant’s lawyers will have grounds for convincing the jury that you did not suffer injuries because you went hiking soon after the crash.
Experienced lawyers, such as those from Greenstein and Milbauer, will advise you to avoid these contradictions by not posting on social media while in the middle of a claim.
Posts Can Be Used to Disprove Emotional Distress Claims
Accidents are traumatic. In addition to physical injuries, victims suffer stress, depression, anxiety, withdrawal, and other mental illnesses. To get compensated for these mental damages, you must provide proof.
If your social media timeline is filled with photos of you having fun and smiling with friends, claims of distress can be easily disproved. The defense will do anything to tarnish your claims or reduce the amount of compensation you receive. Be very careful when posting that innocent happy photo.
Comments Can Be Misinterpreted
Your personal injury attorney will advise you against posting anything related to the case. This is because comments from your social media feed could be misinterpreted or exaggerated.
For instance, if your friend comments, “the rogue driver must pay,” the defense might claim that you are using the case as a quick source of money. Any post or comment on social media can damage your case.
How to Protect Your Personal Injury Case from Social Media
- Do not post anything related to the accident. Your legitimate case can be destroyed by a simple post, so avoid posting until the case is settled.
- Practice selective posting. If you must post, be very selective of the photos or posts you put out there. Injury claims are monetary disputes, and the defense lawyers will go to any extent to see your case thrown out or your compensation reduced.
- Do not approve friend requests from people you do not know. Defense lawyers will create pseudo accounts in the quest to get information from your social media. Keep those friend requests pending and your accounts private.
- Pay attention to what you are tagged in. You might be very careful, but your friends could spoil everything by tagging you in a contradicting photo. Warn your friends against tagging you.
Social Media Posts Are Admissible in Personal Injury Cases
Anything you say or post online while your injury case is active can be used against you. Follow the directives of your personal injury lawyer regarding social media.
Some people will advise you to keep your social media accounts private, but this does not protect you entirely. Defense attorneys can use discovery laws to access your social media, so discretion is advised while your case is pending or ongoing.