If you’re like most Americans, social media is an integral part of your life. Throughout the day, you may spend hours on various social media apps or sites, either composing a tweet on Twitter, posting an update on Facebook, liking a picture on Instagram, checking in to a location on Foursquare, sharing an article on LinkedIn, or uploading a video to YouTube. Your social media accounts are a way for you to chronicle the events in your life, share your thoughts and views, and connect with friends, family and the world at large.
If you were recently injured in an accident, it’s natural to want to turn to social media to share details about what happened. You may even find it cathartic to air grievances about the person who caused your injuries or to express your anxiety over whether or not you’ll be compensated.
The unfortunate reality is, anything you say or post on social media can be used to limit or deny your personal injury claim. The at-fault party’s insurer and defense attorney will most likely search your social media profiles in an effort to find any evidence that casts doubt on the legitimacy of your injuries. They may try to prove your injuries do not exist, are not as severe as you claim, or existed prior to the accident. For example, if you claimed you suffered a back injury but posted a picture of yourself and some friends playing basketball, that would be hurt your credibility and be detrimental to your overall case.
If you have questions about your social media activity and how it can affect your personal injury case, contact a personal injury attorney today.
Ideally, you should temporarily suspend all of your social media accounts while your personal injury case is pending. If that’s not possible, there are certain steps you can take to mitigate the risk of self-incrimination.
Google yourself: Type your name into Google’s search engine and see what comes up. If there is anything you see that could damage your case, remove it, even if it’s a few years old.
Don’t post about your accident or injuries: Avoid posting any written details, photos, or videos related to your accident, medical diagnosis, treatment or recovery. If any inconsistencies exist between what you’ve told the insurance company and what you post on your social media networks, it will be harder to
Ask friends and family members to refrain from posting anything related to you after your accident, this includes tagging you in photos or check-ins.
Do not post pictures or video of you smiling, laughing, or engaged in a physical activity: In addition to seeking damages for your physical injuries, a personal injury lawyer may argue that you suffered emotional distress as well.
Adjust your privacy settings: Make sure all of your social media posts are set to “friends only” or “private” and not “public.”
Do not accept any new friend requests during the time period after your accident: Believe it or not, an insurance adjuster, investigator, or attorney may attempt to gain access to your social media accounts in an effort to gather information