You are not alone as someone who wishes to share aspects of your life with your friends and family via social media. Millions of users log onto Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat, TikTok and other social media apps daily. Around 70% of Americans use social media sites, according to the Pew Research Center. If you get into a personal injury accident, it is in your best interest to restrict what you post to social media. Posting the wrong thing could have the power to reduce your financial recovery award…or eliminate it completely.
Why You Should Avoid Social Media
Your Dallas personal injury lawyer will most likely advise you to stay off of social media for the duration of your personal injury case. Investigators can access content posted across social sites and use it as admissible evidence. The defense may be able to take anything you post and turn it around to paint you in a negative light. Staying active on social medial during a claim could interfere with your ability to recover in many ways.
- Contradicting your story. You or one of your friends might post something that contradicts the story you have been telling. If you say you have chronic pain that interferes with your enjoyment of life, for example, posting photos of you bowling or at a party could hurt your case.
- Undermining your reliability. If you post something on social media that contrasts any information you gave to an insurance company, no matter how minor (such as a photo showing you at Disney when you said you were at work), this could be enough for the defense to establish that you are an unreliable witness.
- Divulging your location. Something as seemingly innocent as checking in at a location could still serve as evidence against you during an injury case. The defense might use the fact that you checked in at a yoga studio as proof that your injuries are not serious, for instance, no matter why you were at the studio.
- Saying the wrong thing. Even if you are careful about what you post on social media, you cannot control what your friends or family members post. Comments regarding your case or lifestyle, such as how much money you wish to make in a settlement, could hurt your case or damage how you look to a jury.
- Trying to cover up evidence. Deleting messages or photographs you think might be incriminating could harm your case further. Investigators have ways of retrieving deleted content. The fact that you deleted things could look suspicious to a judge or jury, regardless of the actual content of the material deleted.
It can be difficult to predict how the defense may use your social activity against you during a personal injury claim. Changing your privacy settings will not keep investigators out. The best way to protect yourself from potential social media pitfalls is to delete or freeze your accounts during your claim. Do not post anything, check-in anywhere or let your friends tag you in any photos on social media sites. The same is true for other forms of digital communication. Be careful what you email, text and message to others, as this could also become evidence during your case.
Do Not Run the Risk – Log Off During Your Claim
Many injured parties believe they are exceptions to the rule and can do better about posting carefully on social media during an ongoing injury case. Unfortunately, they underestimate the ways in which an aggressive defense team can twist posts and online activity into evidence against them. Even the most prudent plaintiff could make a mistake on social media that comes back to hurt his or her claim. The best way to optimize your odds of obtaining fair compensation for an injury is by pausing your social media use entirely until the conclusion of your case.