Tips for Personal Injury Cases and Social Media
Social media has been part of most of our lives for well over a decade. We post family photos, pictures of pets and often vent on social media. However, personal injury cases and social media is a problematic area.
Although social media has been with us for years, many people still don’t realize what is posted on social media sites can be used against them in the legal process. When defendants protect their innocence or describe details of a case against them, prosecutors can use their comments in a court case. Likewise, if you discuss the details of your car accident on Facebook or Twitter, don’t be surprised if the insurance company representing the other driver uses your details against you.
Many people think the evidence can be erased by deleting a post. This is not the case. Parties to any type of legal proceeding should never post details about the case on social media. Even posts that avoid specific details can get you in trouble because other people may add comments that can undermine your case.
The Implications of Social Media for Personal Injury Cases
The most obvious way to undermine your personal injury case is to discuss the details of the accident itself. A post in which you tell your social media followers you were involved in an accident but you are OK seems innocent enough. However, this post could be used by the lawyers for the insurance company in a subsequent case to claim your injuries were not very serious.
A post suggesting you may have been to blame for the accident in some degree is even more damaging. If what you wrote on social media contradicted what you told the police officer you could face further legal trouble and your credibility would likely be questioned.
Photographs of an accident scene can also be problematic when posted on social media. Although taking pictures of an accident scene may help your case, save these images for the legal process. If you post them on social media, it may reveal clues about the strength of your case to the other side.
People who were hurt in a car crash should also be mindful of breaching attorney/client privilege. Never disclose details of the legal advice you received such as how much your case might be worth.
Why You Should Check Your Social Media Privacy Settings
If you find yourself involved in a lawsuit, you should be aware insurance adjusters or lawyers for the insurance company will likely be checking your social media accounts.
Ensure all of your profiles are set to “private” so as only your friends can view the information you post. Defense attorneys are very adept at trawling the internet. They may even obtain information from exercise apps like Fitbits.
Are Unrelated Posts Relevant to Personal injury Cases and Social Media?
Talking about your accident on social media is clearly a big mistake. However, people don’t always realize defense attorneys may use unrelated photos and posts against you. If you are claiming a car accident caused serious back injuries, a social media photograph of you running or rock climbing a few days after the accident will undermine your case. If the other side is seeking to claim you were distracted at the time of your accident, a cellphone picture taken a few weeks later while you were obviously driving may also be damaging.
Personal injury cases and social media is a fraught area. Some attorneys advise their clients to disable their accounts or at least to avoid all social media activity at the time of an active lawsuit.
At the very least, avoid posting anything that could have a bearing on your claim. If you or a family member was hurt in a Georgia car accident, please call the Law Office of Michael West at (404) 913-1529.