Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, TikTok – these are just a few of the social media sites most people use.
These social media tools are pretty common today - I mean my wife's 96-year-old grandmother has a Facebook and posts pretty frequently. Whatever you use - please keep this in mind as your injury case progresses.
After an accident, you’re shaken up. You’re scared. You’re in a bit of disbelief. But, you’re alive. You’re relieved. You survived. You’re “OK”.
DO NOT POST THIS ON SOCIAL MEDIA.
I regularly see these posts on my feed. “I got rear-ended today. The kids were in the car with me. My car is totaled. But, thank God we’re all okay!”
When probed further, they usually have some scrapes and bruises. They’re likely sore. (Or they will be tomorrow.) But they don’t want to be complainers, and they want to reassure their friends and family (and themselves) that they are ok.
But time passes. And the soreness doesn’t go away. Or it gets worse. Now you need extensive physical therapy visits and then when that doesn’t work, surgery. You’ve had to miss work for all of the medical appointments and now cannot return to work while you recover. You’ve lost wages and the medical bills are piling up.
You make a claim with the other driver’s insurance company but they’re claiming that you’re exaggerating your injury or that it is not due to the auto accident. And now they have “proof” by way of your social media posts that you were okay after the crash.
A skilled car accident lawyer can argue that the post was made before the extent of your injuries were known. But why give the insurance company the extra ammunition to deny or underpay your claim?
What are the dangers of social media use during a car accident claim?
Refrain from posting any details of your accident on any form of social media, because the insurance company will use your posts against you.
That advice does not just apply to the immediate aftermath of the accident but through your entire case.
Ideally, you will deactivate your social media accounts while your case is pending, but we know how hard doing so is these days. You should remember even simple tweets or Facebook posts can make or break your case when you are injured in a car accident. Posting on social media can negatively affect your injury claim.
What to Do and What Not to Do on Social Media When Filing a Personal Injury Claim
Ultimately, keep in mind these tips to avoid making any social media mistakes.
- DO change your privacy settings. It is a safe practice in general, but especially when you are going through an injury or court proceeding. Only let your friends, family, and the people you actually know view your profile.
- DON’T post photographs of the injury. One of the major appeals of social media is being able to connect with family and friends, all at once, regardless of your location. The temptation might be high to post pictures of your car after a major accident or to post photographs of injuries on your person, but it is imperative to avoid posting these photographs.
- DO ask others to remain silent regarding your injury. As important as it is for you to not post photographs, it is important for others in your life to do the same. Others pictures or updates posted to social media could be used in your lawsuit. While sometimes this could help you, there is an overwhelming chance that the post could be harmful to your case.
- DON’T post updates about your condition or claim. Do not post about visits with doctors, your lawyer, or any case updates.
- DO avoid reading others’ reactions to your case. In the event of a news article or some other public posting about your case, avoid engaging in arguments or discussion over the article.
- DON’T forget about all of your social media accounts. Your most used accounts will not be an issue for you to remember to change privacy settings or watch for others’ posts, but make sure to do so for all accounts you have acquired over the years.
- DO know that anything on your social media could be potentially used in your lawsuit. This includes past posts. It can be advantageous to you to be constantly aware of what you post, even without a personal injury claim.
- DON’T contact other parties to the case via social media. Contact between parties needs to be between lawyers on each side. Do not reach out via social media to anyone involved in the case.
- DO ask your family and friends to NOT tag you in any of their posts or stories. We have seen insurance companies and defense attorneys use someone being tagged by friends/family to imply the tagged person was doing things (like boating) when they claimed they could not. So, make your friends and family aware they should not be tagging you.