What you’ll learn reading this article:
- Social media posts are legally allowed in the courtroom, even if your account was set to private.
- Defense attorneys and insurance companies are talented at mining social media for excuses to deny car accident victims damages.
- If you do make the mistake of posting, talk with your attorney rather than delete the post, as this can lead to further problems.
So you’ve been injured in a car accident. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence in the United States with an estimated six million car accidents occurring each year.
After seeking medical attention and filing a police report, your next step should be to seek out a qualified personal injury attorney. Unfortunately, many Americans add an extra step in by posting about their accident to social media accounts and in doing so may jeopardize their case.
Here are some of the top reasons why posting about your car accident online can result in problems with your legal claim:
- Social Media Posts Legally Can Be Used in Court
Many of us are used to sharing details of our daily lives on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat. However, after suffering a car accident, it can be better to take a break from social media in general.
Even if you think you are just posting about your accident to your close friends and family, your social media posts after a car accident can end up severely damaging your claim. Nothing on the internet is really private, and social media posts can be used in a court of law and, in the case of personal injury claims, can be used to discredit the victim.
Even posts about how you feel mentally and physically after the accident that don’t mention it specifically can be used against you, as can photographs.
For example, in a 2015 case, photographs posted by the plaintiff on social media after the accident were used against them to showcase they were still going to the gym and enjoying many of their daily activities. The defendant used these photos to undermine the plaintiff’s claim that they had suffered severe pain and anguish from the accident.
Talented defense attorneys can take posts in which you share details about the happy aspects of your life or a photo of you out to dinner and smiling after your accident and twist it into evidence that you are not as injured as you claim. Simply the act of being active online can be used to showcase that you are not “suffering” if you have time to post, engage in social games or more.
Additionally, you have no control over what your friends comment on posts or pictures, and tone can be difficult to read online, so it is best not to provide a platform for discussion of your accident for others. While this may seem shocking and unfair, it is far better to take a social media break than to allow your personal life to be used against you.
- You Can Jeopardize Your Confidentiality
When you hire a lawyer for your car accident claim, the details of your accident are confidential between the two of you. This confidentiality cannot be broken unless you yourself break it.
For the sake of your claim, it is recommended that you not share confidential information about the accident, from details of where it occurred to how you felt afterward, with anyone in writing, especially online. Remember: Even private messaging apps are NOT really private, and once you’ve shared information to someone else online, you cannot control where else it goes, and it may go into the hands of the defense should you breach this confidentiality by posting online.
- Insurance Companies Troll Social Media
Insurance investigators, similar to defense attorneys, can use your social media against you. Most insurance companies will find any excuse to deny your claim, and social media unfortunately can provide a multitude of avenues for them to find these excuses.
Even postings you made years prior, events you marked as being “interested” in or “going” to (even if you didn’t end up attending), and activities on integrated apps such as games and quizzes can be used to poke holes in your credibility. Because of this, it is best not to provide them the opportunity to use your own life against you.
It is recommended that if you already have made the mistake of posting on social media after an accident that you avoid deleting the posts. Deletion can be viewed as an admission of guilt or fault, and so leaving the posts up will be better in the long run.
Again, nothing on the internet is private, and nothing really goes away; you never know who may have seen or screenshotted a post you made. Because of this, the smartest decision is to save your feelings about the accident and the details for your attorney.
Poynter & Bucheri Accident Recovery—Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been injured physically or mentally by a person, product or company, you need to know your legal rights. Our personal injury attorneys are experienced with cases like yours and can evaluate what your case may be worth. We will ensure that you are protected and compensated for your injuries and losses.
Don’t hesitate—one of our experienced attorneys can assist you right away. Call (800) 265-9881 for a free case review.