How Social Media Can Impact Your Personal Injury Case
It should come as no surprise that social media usage has increased significantly since we entered the pandemic. Communicating via social media, for many, has become their only form of communication with family & friends as we found ourselves quarantined and socially distanced. In many ways, the access to social media was crucial to not only keep in touch, but to have any kind of a connection to the world outside their homes.
With this much reliance on social media, increased usage, and a large portion of the general population almost instinctively grabbing for their phones or tablets to post pictures, stories about their lives, share information and even engage in debate; it could prove to be a very difficult task for plaintiff’s involved in personal injury lawsuits to stay off social media.
What you might consider a simple post about something not a big deal, the reality is it could tank your whole case. Defense attorneys will attempt to use any possible evidence against the plaintiff / victim.
Maybe you’re wondering what kind of damage can be done…. You may contradict your own testimony. Say you have a whiplash concussion from a car accident, but you post pictures on Facebook of you and your family riding roller coasters at Six Flags. Maybe you have claimed that the accident has caused you limited mobility, but you check-in on social media at a food festival in Chicago, which could require a full day of walking around. These types of contradictory social media posts can destroy your personal injury case.
Here are Some Social Media Rules to Follow as the Plaintiff in a Personal Injury Case
- Do not post about your accident right away! Imagine you’re sitting in your car waiting for the police and/or emergency services to arrive. You instinctively grab your phone to make a post to Facebook. “So, I was just t-boned at the intersection, but no worries, I’m fine – just bummed I won’t make it to the concert tonight. Gonna go home and crank up the bands music and dance it out in the living room”. How will this be perceived later when your claiming significant physical injuries from the accident? Posts and pictures can and will be taken out of context, and a savvy insurance adjuster or their investigators could use it against you.
- Don’t create any new posts about the accident until the case is closed.
- Ask friends and family to not post about you, or even ask about the accident via social media. Explain to them your attorney has recommended this, and you will keep them apprised of your status/condition over the phone or in person.
- Don’t private message people about your personal injury case. Remember, anything you share online is never 100% private. While it may be unlikely that defense is granted full access to all of your social media accounts, emails, and text messages – it is not out of the question. Be Smart!
- Consider taking a social media break until your personal injury case settles.
- Check and adjust your privacy settings on all your social media. As indicated before, nothing you share online is ever completely private. One setting you might want to change during this time is whether you “review posts” you’re tagged in before they get posted – this could help you avoid anyone inadvertently posting something about you, your conditions/injuries, and the accident! Another good thing to change during this time is “Who can see your friends lists, look up your email, look up your phone number, etc…”. We recommend you change those to “Only Me”.
If you have injuries from a personal injury claim, you should consider meeting with an experienced personal injury attorney. They can provide important legal guidance through the process of attempting to get compensation for your injuries. The experienced attorneys at VanDerGinst Law can help you! We work for you, and we don’t get paid unless your claim is settled. Having an attorney helps ensure you are receiving a full and fair settlement and provides reassurance that your legal rights are protected. The attorney’s at VanDerGinst Law have decades of experience in personal injury claims, and they can provide guidance on matters like social media posts & interaction and how it could impact your claim.
For a FREE evaluation of your case click here to complete an online inquiry, or call us 24/7 at 1-800-797-5391.