Social Media has become part of our every day life. Nearly everyone has an account on one of the many social media platforms. We wake up and scroll through our feeds, check Twitter as our first news source and upload pictures of our meals, family and amazing sunsets we’ve seen. Sometimes we even press send before we have even had a minute to think about what we have posted! Our phones are never more than 2 inches from our hands often times with our computers and tablets close by. Social media is accessible at every month, date and time but did you know, nothing you post is ever really private?
If you have recently been injured in an accident and are pursuing a personal injury claim, social media can be your worst enemy. Shared posts, videos and photos on any social network may negatively impact your case. You may think that sharing the details of your injury or accident is harmless but on the contrary, could have an adverse reaction. If you are tagged in photos that document you out with friends or on vacation this could contradict your injury claim that you are unable to work.
Photos that show that you are able to leave the house, dine out or go to the gym can also effect your injury claim. Insurance companies can find these posts and use them against you. This could result in a reduced settlement or to the extreme of no settlement at all. The insurance company is trying to minimize your injuries and shift the blame to you for the accident so going to find evidence on your social media accounts isn’t out of the question. When in doubt, stay silent online and don’t post! If you must be on social media, try and limit your presence until your case is completely resolved.
Every social media platform has their own privacy settings, where the user can limit who sees their profile and what they post. Many people are unaware of these settings or realize that their profiles are public for all to view. By changing your privacy settings, it can protect you from anyone looking at your page. Even privately posted information on social media platforms can be used in a personal injury case. When you adjust your privacy settings, don’t allow access to your pages by people outside of your own connections and do not allow your friends to share your posts and information. After an accident or when you file your claim, avoid friending additional connections, as they could be representatives of the insurance company or opposing counsel. Do not only rely on the privacy settings, cover yourself and don’t post anything.
It is your personal injury attorney’s job to accurately describe the extent of your injury including how the injury has had a negative impact in your daily routine and how the defendant and their actions caused the injury. Any details about your injury that you post on social media could be mis represented and conflict with the story that your legal team is trying to present in court. Sometimes witnesses will be called in to give testimony on your behalf and you wouldn’t want to contradict any information that they will be providing.
The defense team will attempt to use your own words and photos against you if it contradicts what your legal counsel is claiming in court. If your lawyer has claimed you have suffered physical injuries and mental distress from an auto accident and there are photos of you online contradicting your injuries (dancing, boating, skiing, etc.) your claim may be thrown out. To protect your self and your personal injury case follow these steps:
- Tell your friends and family to avoid posting about your accident and injury
- Limit your social media presence until your case is resolved
- If you must post on social media, be aware of what you are posting before you share with the public
- Before posting, change your privacy settings to ensure that nobody outside of your connections can see your posts and photos
- Avoid friending or adding any new contacts that you don’t recognize
- Do not post any angry comments about the defendant or your case
If you have been recently injured and would like to speak to a lawyer, call the attorneys at Losi & Gangi at 716-854-1446 for a free consultation. We achieve real results for our injured clients and make sure you are represented fairly in your case.
Article Adapted from: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/could-social-media-impact_b_9858366