Social media has become a norm in our modern-day society. The majority of people use at least one social media platform, be it Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or the like. Users of social media often post about their day-to-day personal experiences, and include photos in their posts. But, many times posts tend to emphasize or even overstate positive life experiences, including vacations and social events. While participating in social media can be fun, when it comes to personal injury claims, your social media postings can have a significant impact on your personal injury case, and usually not for the good.
When someone has suffered an injury and they are making a claim, they are generally seeking compensation for medical bills and lost wages, but also may be requesting damages for pain, suffering, inconvenience and loss of enjoyment of life.
When it comes to a legal claim or lawsuit, evidence plays a major role. Your social media account is a major source of information that is used in these sorts of cases. Defendants and insurance companies often look to an injured party’s social media posts as evidence against them in a personal injury case. They look to the photos and posts to demonstrate that the person is not injured as they claim, is not suffering, and to the contrary, is actually enjoying life.
Here Are Some Tips When It Comes to Social Media When You Are Making a Personal Injury Claim:
1. Take a Break from Social Media while your claim is pending. The best thing to do is just suspend your social media account while the claim or case is pending. You do not want posts, even as harmless as attending a family member’s birthday party, to be misconstrued that you haven’t been injured or that you are not suffering as a result of an accident. Perhaps the day you went to the party was a good day and the next two days you spent in bed. These types of posts only tell part of the story and can be misleading.
2. Make your Account Private. If you aren’t willing to suspend your account, at least make your account private. This initially may prevent the insurance companies from having access to your page. However, when in litigation, often times the judge will allow the insurance companies access even to your private accounts. Also, insurance companies can get creative and look at your friends’ or family members’ accounts for evidence. So, in addition to making your own account private, talk to family and friends about not posting or tagging photographs of you during your case.
3. Do not Post about your claim, your injuries, or your medical treatment. It is best not to discuss your case, particularly in a public forum like social media. You do not want Defendants, insurance companies and defense attorneys twisting your words and using them against you.
4. Don’t Post about Social and Physical Activities or Trips. If you are inclined to be on social media and have made your account private, avoid posting about social or physical activities or trips. Perhaps right before an auto accident, you had a preplanned, prepaid vacation with your family. Not wanting to lose your deposit and disappoint your children, you go on the vacation. The insurance company will attempt to argue – you must not be injured, you went to Disney World. What the insurance company won’t see on your post, however, is that you sat out all the rides and had to take pain medication or Advil just to make it through the day.
5. Assume Anything You Post could be seen by a Judge or Jury One Day. Social media is a place where people sometimes post views on controversial topics like social issues, religion or politics. In a lawsuit, opinions can be formed against you based upon these polarizing topics.
When you have been injured because of someone else’s negligence, you want the true facts to come through, not the half truths that social media postings can sometimes create. This is your best opportunity to obtain the justice you deserve.