In the digital age, social media platforms have become a popular way to communicate with friends and family and document daily activities. If you are one of the millions of people who are regularly active on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok or another social media platform, it is important to realize how your social media activity could affect your injury claim after an accident.
Social Media Can Be Used Against You in Court
You might not think twice before posting about your accident, injury or personal injury claim to your social media accounts. You may assume it is for social purposes only and cannot be used for official legal proceedings, or that your privacy settings keep your profile safe from prying eyes. These are common misconceptions.
Regardless of your privacy settings, a defense attorney can access your social media accounts if there is a valid reason to do so. In fact, social media sites are becoming a more common focus during evidence discovery. An attorney or investigator can access everything you post, including photographs, comments that you write on other people’s profiles, private messages and location check-ins. The defense attorney or insurance company that you are going up against may be able to use this information against you during a personal injury case.
An insurance company will look for any reason to deny benefits or reduce your payout while gathering evidence from your social media accounts. Mainly, the insurer will look for posts that paint you as an unreliable witness, such as photographs of you enjoying yourself with your friends after you file a claim for pain and suffering, or participating in physical activities after claiming a debilitating injury. This is why it is important to be conscious of what you post – or don’t post anything at all.
Social Media Tips After an Accident
Almost anything you post on social media after an accident could be twisted around and used against you by the defense. Social media content can be admitted to the courts as evidence if it is relevant to civil litigation. The best way to protect yourself is with no social media activity at all. If you must remain on social media, use the following tips to help protect your legal rights:
- Do not talk about the accident in any capacity on a social media site. Do not post photographs of your wrecked car after a car accident, for example, or admit fault for the crash.
- Do not update your social media accounts with your activities after an accident. This includes photographs, videos and location check-ins.
- Tell your friends and family members not to tag you in any posts until your personal injury claim has been resolved.
- Do not think you can hide things that you have already posted by deleting them. Investigators can gain access to deleted social media data, in some cases. Deleting possible evidence could also lead to penalties for the obstruction of justice.
Any social media activity before the resolution of your case can be used against you. The best way to avoid negatively impacting your right to recover is by avoiding social media altogether. Temporarily disable or delete your account until your claim is completed, if possible. If you receive a request for your social media content, bring the request to an attorney before complying.
This type of request must be reasonable in the eyes of the law for a valid claim to your social media content. Your attorney can make sure that the request is relevant and lawful. Then, your attorney can help you submit the correct social media content while still protecting your rights. For more information about social media and civil law, contact a personal injury lawyer in Dallas today.