Social media is deeply entrenched in the lives of many Americans. In 2017, more than 80 percent of Americans reported using at least one social media site. While social media use is typically benign, sharing information about your personal injury claim may cause issues.
Anything you post on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can be used against you. During the investigation process, assume that information you post on social media may have a negative impact on your personal injury case.
For this reason, proceed with caution on social media if you've been seriously injured, regardless of where you are in the claims process. Here's what you should know about social media and your personal injury case.
Social Media Posts Are Public Record
Nothing that you post on social media accounts can be considered truly private. You can give yourself some protection by changing your account settings to private so only your friends can see your profile. However, some posts may remain visible, and sometimes friends and family unintentionally leak posts.
Regardless, if a judge orders you to hand over your social media posts as evidence, you'll have to comply. Avoid developing a false sense of security on social media. Always assume that anything you post has the potential to be made public.
Innocent Posts Can Prove Incriminating
When you file suit after a personal injury, chances are that you won't only be seeking damages for medical bills — you may be entitled to compensation for negative impact the injury has on your life.
If you're claiming that your accident has left you depressed, something as innocuous as a picture of you smiling could be used to argue that you're clearly enjoying life. As ridiculous as it might seem, even something as innocent as using too many smile emojis could be harmful to your case.
Fair or not, you can count on claims adjusters or lawyers for the at-fault party to check your social media closely. The less you give them to work with, the better.
Social Media Abstinence Is Wise
Your best option is to stay off of social media entirely if you've filed or plan on filing a personal injury lawsuit. However, if you must maintain your social media for work or other purposes, be selective about what you do post on social networks. Here are a few things you may consider avoiding until your claim is settled:
- Photos — If you claim that your injury led to isolation and depression and the defense finds pictures of you drinking at a bar with friends, this photo could prove damaging to your case.
- Information About Your Case — Victims of personal injury should avoid posting anything about their case on social media. Even if it seems harmless, keep information about your claim private.
- Location Tags — While there's nothing wrong with a night out, avoid allowing others to track your every move.
Avoid any appearance of impropriety during a personal injury lawsuit. Even if you yourself don't post to social media, being photographed or even tagged at a location could prove problematic to your case. Let friends and family you spend time with know you are avoiding social media.
By avoiding social media as much as possible during a personal injury suit — and not giving any ammunition to use against you — you can help stack the deck in your favor.
Dealing with a personal injury is often difficult. If you or a loved one has been injured, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Jack W. Hanemann. P.S. Your lawyer can help give you tips to avoid accidentally weakening your case, including more tips about social media use.