Your Social Media Post Could Ruin Your Accident Injury Claim
Social media is a fun way to connect with people in your life. You can update your friends and family on milestones on your life, vent about your day, share memes, and connect with businesses. There are so many advantages to social media. However, if you have just been in an accident, and you are trying to receive compensation for your injuries, social media could ruin your claim. Thus, social media could prevent you from collecting compensation for your injuries.
You were on the road, and another driver caused your accident. You are frustrated and post to vent. Or you were facing life-altering injuries, but you were finally able to get out of bed and wanted to share this exciting recovery with your family. You need to think twice about the impact these posts have on your case.
After a car accident, caused by the negligence of another, you should focus on getting the maximum compensation for the injuries you are now facing as a result of the crash. Defense attorneys or insurance companies of the at-fault driver will dig to find out how they can show that you are not as injured as you claim or show that you are not in emotional distress, thus lowering the amount of money their client or insured must pay you.
Here are some ways that social media can ruin your claim:
Posts can create an illusion that your injuries are not as severe as you claim. Even if you really are as injured as you claim, a photo of you smiling outside can be taken out of context. In real life, you could finally be getting some fresh air after being on bed rest all day. But the at-fault party could argue that you, in fact, are able to get up, walk around, and feel great. Or you are in a photo that was taken at your sister’s baby shower. This photo could make you look like a liar, even if you put every effort possible to fight through your pain for a short appearance at an important family gathering.
Posts can be used against you to prove fault or minimize the other’s fault. If you vent about the accident and mention that you did not even see the other car turning, you might be told that you could have avoided the crash. Or even if someone asks you online if you are feeling okay and you reply that you are safe and feeling okay, this could be used against you to decrease your claim. A post saying how sorry you feel about the entire situation can significantly decrease your compensation. Or even if the post is unrelated to the accident, for example you post about being hungover, the other side might use that post to say you still had alcohol in your system or you were too tired to drive safely. Whatever your post is, be careful because it could be used against you.
Posts can create the illusion that you are not emotionally distressed. Often, plaintiffs are seeking damages for pain and suffering after an accident. But the funny video your friend sent you that you repost could show that you are enjoying life and are able to find joy in things you used to. Posting too many posts can show you are doing fine. Any positive post could be used against you to show that you are happy and doing well. The at-fault party’s attorney or insurance company will use this information to show that you deserve less compensation for your pain and suffering.
Posting private information can ruin your confidentiality. The medical and financial effects of an accident are private. Once you decide to share intimate details of your case that before only your attorney knew, this information is no longer protected from the other side accessing it because it is now public. Even if your account is on the “private” setting, the opposing side can get the right to demand access to all your social media accounts.
Posts can make you look bad. If you are gossiping or bad-mouthing the at-fault driver or the insurance company, this can be used against you to show that you are not negotiating in good faith. It could show that you are a person who seeks revenge, and this could make a judge, or especially a jury, look at you in a negative light and hurt your chances to receive maximum compensation.
Tips to avoid these negative consequences after the accident:
Do not post on social media after your accident. It does not matter if you are posting but avoiding the topic of the accident. As explained above, posts about other topics can still indirectly speak to results of the accident and be used against you.
This includes photos of the accident. While your attorney would most likely want you to take photos at the scene of the accident, none of these photos or videos should be posted for everyone to see. It only takes one misleading angle of the scene to point the blame onto you.
Related to the tip above, never post, or be on your phone, while driving. The other side can use the timing of your post to show that you were distracted while driving.
Change your settings on all your social media accounts to “private.” Even if you are not posting, this prevents people outside your circle from seeing photos or posts that you are tagged in.
Be aware, however, that even if your account is on the private setting, it is never fully private. There is always a way to demand access to your accounts. The law governing this part of social media is a part of the Stored Communications Act.
Do not add any users/followers/friends of whom you do not know or fully trust.
Explain to your close friends and family that this topic of your accident is private and to please respect these boundaries until after the case is settled. Explain to them that the at-fault driver’s insurance company or attorney will also check your family and friends’ posts. Explain to them that they should not tag you in photos or posts until that time. If you want to give case updates, call those people who are closest to you to fill them in, and ask them not to post about it. However, in an ideal situation, you should only be speaking to your attorney about your case when possible.
Do not post apologies or vent about feeling guilty for the accident even if you didn’t cause it
Do not delete posts. Even if you posted something that hurts your case, deleting your posts is destruction of evidence, and it is unethical for an attorney to advise you to do so.
Make a consultation with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Call Mark Grover at 913-432-1000 to set up your free consultation.
The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.