Social media is a part of everyday life for many. We don’t think twice about commenting on a friend’s Facebook update, sharing a vacation photo on Instagram, or posting or retweeting something on Twitter. But when it comes to personal injury claims, your social media activity has the potential to be damaging for your case.
In this short post we’ll cover how social media can impact your personal injury case, and steps you can take to mitigate the potentially negative effects social media can have on your personal injury claim.
How Social Media Can Impact Your Personal Injury Case
Social media activity has the potential to be extremely damaging in a personal injury case. When you’re in a personal injury lawsuit, most of your social media information is “discoverable” – which means it can be made available to the defendant and brought in as evidence in your case.
Your photos, comments and status updates can paint a picture that is contradictory to your personal injury claim, even if it isn’t true or was not your intention.
Let’s look at an example. Your spouse is celebrating their 40th birthday, they’ve been planning the celebration for months and are really looking forward to it. Despite your pain and discomfort, you make your best effort to attend the party for 30 minutes (you want to be supportive after all), and while you are there, you take a photo with your spouse where you’re smiling and looking happy. This photo is posted on social media and you’re tagged with a comment about celebrating at the party.
Even though you were in pain and were only going for a short time to be supportive, this photo could tell a different story and be used against you in your personal injury case. The defendant could try to argue that this posts hurts your claim – how much pain could you be in if you’re out smiling and celebrating at a party?
When making a personal injury claim, you need to understand that everything you share on social media could become part of your case, even if this information is behind privacy settings.
Tips for Social Media Use When You File a Personal Injury Claim
It’s important that you use social media responsibly during your personal injury claim. Follow these tips to make sure your social media use won’t harm your personal injury case:
1. Try to steer clear of posting on social media
The best way to avoid potential consequences to your personal injury case is to take a break from posting to social media altogether. You can still view your friends photos and see their activity to stay in the loop, but try to avoid adding updates to your accounts.
2. Think before you post
If steering clear of posting on social media isn’t in the cards for you, make sure you think before you post and avoid anything that could be used as evidence against you in your personal injury claim. Information about your lifestyle, health or well-being should be avoided entirely.
3. Talk to your friends about posting on social media
Be very clear with your friends and family that you don’t want any photos of you, or comments made about you, posted online during your personal injury claim.
4. Adjust your privacy settings
Even though discovery can go beyond your privacy settings, adjusting your privacy settings for your account to make them as secure as possible is a good precaution to take. On Facebook and Instagram, be sure to adjust the option that allows people to tag you in photos so you can take control of any photos that may be posted of you and ensure they are not linked to your account.