Posted on: 7 February 2017
According to a recent Pew Internet report, approximately 7 out of 10 Americans use social media to share their thoughts, photos and feelings with one another. In an ongoing personal injury lawsuit, however, the things you post on social media could be used against you in your case. The following explains how using social media could inadvertently work against your claim, including what to specifically look out for when it comes to using social media.
What You Post Could Be Used as Evidence Against Your Claim
Throughout your personal injury case, the defendant's insurance company will do everything it can to find evidence that invalidates your stated claims. If you're suffering from constant pain due to an injury caused by the defendant's negligent actions, the insurance company will look for anything that shows you're not in as much pain as you claim.
Social media has proven to be a game-changer in the legal realm, especially when it comes to gathering evidence during the discovery phase of your personal injury case. What you post on a public wall is usually fair game for the other side to use as evidence against your claims. Posts made on private or closed group pages are a bit trickier—in most cases, a court order is needed to access this level of your social media presence.
The main issue with personal injury cases involving social media is how it can be used to sway a judge and jury's perception of the plaintiff and their perceived trustworthiness. If the defense successfully undermines that trustworthiness through the use of your social media activity, it's likely that you'll end up losing your case.
Even the Most Innocent Posts Are Fair Game
No matter how innocent your words or actions may seem on social media, the insurance company will attempt to use your social media activity to downplay the severity of your injuries and the validity of your personal injury claim. It doesn't take much for you to inadvertently create that evidence—for instance, a single picture taken days after your accident that shows you smiling or enjoying an activity with little to no evidence of pain could be used as proof of your pain not being as severe as you claimed.
Even social media apps that do nothing more than "check-in" to various locations can prove to be your claim's undoing. For instance, you don't want to "check-in" at a bowling alley or roller skating rink if you're claiming neck or back pain, even if you're just a spectator who won't be actively participating in the ongoing activities in question. Nevertheless, the insurance company can use this information to disqualify your personal injury claim.
What You Can Do to Protect Yourself
Protecting yourself against having your social media activity used against you should be your first and foremost priority, even if that means taking a brief sabbatical from social media. As tempting as it may be to share your feelings about your injuries and your case with others in your social media circle, you're better off taking a break from your social media apps and locking down any open profiles you have out in the wild.
If you find it difficult to quit social media cold turkey, then here are a few tips you can use to keep yourself safe:
- Never post details about your accident or injuries on social media.
- Lock down your social media pages so they're not accessible to the general public.
- Encourage your friends to refrain from posting information about your activities or whereabouts.
- Beware of any new friend requests from people you don't personally know. It's not uncommon for private investigators to snoop through social media profiles while masquerading as new friends.
You should also take a careful look at your social media timeline and look for any pictures, videos, or text that could possibly be used against you in your personal injury case. Your personal injury attorney will be able to help you mitigate the potentially negative impact your social media activity could have on your case. Click here for info on personal injury cases.Share