We live in a constantly connected world, and engagement is only growing. The Pew Research Center reports that over 70 percent of U.S. adults utilize social media platforms, including Facebook and YouTube. Many adults use these platforms to share their personal life, feelings and opinions. For this very reason, social media poses a threat to personal injury cases.
Insurance companies and investigators know the power of the Internet. They also know that accident and injury victims occasionally vent to their friends and followers online.
Lawyers routinely check social media posts for inconsistencies during personal injury cases. While this strategy is effective for them, it may leave your claim in ruins. This is a misstep you can’t afford, and you should never have to pay for an injury due to someone else’s negligence.
There are a few things to be aware of when using social media platforms, such as:
- Activities: Depending on your injury, there are certain expectations for what you should – or shouldn’t – be doing on and offline. A traumatic accident comes with suffering, and with suffering comes a reduced amount of activity. Say you are filing a claim for a hip injury. That week, you post photos walking your dog, playing with a toddler or hiking at a state park. The defense can pull these photos and present them in court. Your Facebook posts won’t match up with the injury claimed. That’s when the disconnect happens.
- Emotions: Emotional distress typically ties in with an accident. You’re injured; therefore, it’s assumed you deal with the pain and suffering that comes with it. But, perhaps you post a status expressing how happy you are, or how excited you’re feeling about a Caribbean cruise coming up. An insurance company can take this post and turn it against you.
- Sharing: Once a personal injury claim is filed, that information becomes confidential. You want to avoid sharing tidbits online about your injury, or the case in general. If the wrong thing is said, your claim could get tossed out. It’s important to discuss guidelines in advance with your lawyer.
Overall, you want to stay clear of social media during a personal injury case. The defense will dig deep to pull out any mistakes or inconsistencies. While you can post on social media platforms, do so with discretion. It’s best to refrain from talking about the accident with anyone other than your lawyer. Even family members might accidently disclose private information.
Additionally, consult your lawyer before deleting anything. The court considers the deletion of any content as tampering of evidence. To stave off temptation, deactivating your accounts could be helpful, but ask for legal advice beforehand.