Can social media have an impact on your personal injury case? Absolutely!
Social media plays a very large role in your online presence and can affect the outcome of your case. Social media provides time stamps, location stamps, opportunities for inconsistencies, and more. This post is meant to highlight some social media angles to be aware of and some things to avoid before, during, and after your personal injury case. The closing section provides some tips to protect yourself on social media accounts during your case. Please consult with your personal injury lawyer if there is any information you believe could be harmful to your case in advance. *The information in this post is informational, but not legal advice.
Although social media has been around in some form since the 1970’s, its popularity has skyrocketed since the birth of Facebook in 2004. Other platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and became more accessible than ever with Apple’s first introduction of the iphone in 2007 allowing mobile access to social media and apps. This online landscape has evolved the way we communicate and share information online. It has also created opportunities within the law and courtroom that did not exist before. Below are some of the many ways social media and your online presence can have an impact on your legal case, particularly any involving liability (personal injury law).
- Evidence Collection: Lawyers and insurance adjusters often scour social media profiles for evidence that can be used against you. Pictures, posts, comments, and even your location check-ins can be used to challenge the severity of your injuries or the circumstances of the accident.
- Contradictory Information: If you claim to have suffered severe injuries but your social media posts show you engaging in physical activities or adventures, it can be used to challenge your credibility and the extent of your injuries.
- Privacy Settings: Even if your social media accounts are set to private, there’s no guarantee that the information won’t be accessed by opposing parties. Friends and connections might share your posts, or the court might order you to provide access to your accounts if the information is deemed relevant to the case. Anything you say can be used against you, including anything said or shared on the internet. Once posted, there really is no such thing as privacy. This leads us to number 4: Deleted content.
- Deleted Content: Deleting content after an accident to prevent it from being used against you might backfire and is not a great approach. Opposing parties can still request records of deleted posts and argue that your actions imply consciousness of guilt.
- Character Assassination: The opposing party might attempt to use your social media history to paint you in a negative light. They could twist innocent posts or comments to create a negative perception of your character. Choosing to be mindful of how you present yourself and maintain your online presence is important all of the time, not just when you find yourself in a legal situation such as a personal injury case or a custody situation.
- Inconsistent Statements: If your social media posts contradict statements you’ve made in the case, it can harm your credibility. This applies not only to your injuries but also to details of the accident.
- Settlement Offers: Social media activity can affect the offers you receive during settlement negotiations. If the other party believes they have strong evidence from your social media that could weaken your case, they might be less willing to offer a favorable settlement.
- Privacy Invasion: Be cautious about accepting friend requests or connections from unknown people during the duration of your personal injury case. They might be attempting to gather information for the opposing party.
Tips to protect yourself with social media during a personal injury case:
– Limit Posting: Refrain from posting about the accident, your injuries, or any related topics until the case is resolved.
– Adjust Privacy Settings: Make sure your social media profiles are set to the highest privacy settings possible.
– Discuss with Your Personal Injury Attorney: Share your social media activities with your attorney so they can guide you on what’s safe to post and what should be avoided. Consult with your personal injury attorney if you believe there is anything damaging or that could be used against you as soon as possible to get their advice and guidance on how to proceed and handle that situation.
– Be Mindful of Friends’ Posts: Even posts and comments made by friends can potentially be used against you. Politely ask friends not to post about your accident or case.
– Assume Everything is Discoverable: Operating under the assumption that anything you post could potentially be discovered can help you be more cautious about what you share online.
Remember, anything you post on social media during your case can potentially be used against you. It’s always best to consult with your attorney before making any decisions regarding your social media activity.
If you have any questions or are seeking out a personal injury lawyer for your case, Call Carmen today for a free consultation.