Can Social Media Affect Your Personal Injury Case?

September 24, 2018

Personal injury cases can be stressful for several reasons. Not only do you have to adjust to an injury and an ongoing claim for compensation, but you may also experience emotional stress, long-term damages, and other mental effects depending on your accident. When all these factors pile up, most people don’t want to think that there’s anything that could throw their claim into question.

However, that’s not the case. Personal injury victims need to be careful they don’t participate in any activities that suggest their injuries may not be as severe as they are. Previously, victims had to avoid situations where photos and videos could serve as evidence against them. As the world becomes more digital, personal injury victims have another front to look out for: social media.

How Social Media Can Affect Your Personal Injury Claim

Courts consider anything you post on social media as part of public record. This means any photos, videos, and even plain text posts can all serve to suggest your physical or emotional damages are less than they truly are. Since they aim to pay out as little compensation as possible, one tactic insurance companies employ is using your social media posts to try and build a case against you.

A photo of you participating in a physical activity that your injury should have prevented you from doing can be detrimental. It may serve as grounds that you aren’t as injured as your case claims – and it can mean you’ll receive less compensation, even if you need it for recovery.

Likewise, posts talking about the accident or about your mood can serve as evidence against a claim for emotional distress. This is an unfortunate result, since we tend to post our best moments online and keep our lows to ourselves. Even the most innocuous of posts, like comments from friends or even using emojis can give the impression that your circumstances are much better than the reality.

Best Social Media Practices When Going Through a Personal Injury claim

While this may seem like an excessive approach to the situation, the fact remains that social media has been part of personal injury claims before, creating a legal precedent. That means there’s a chance your accounts may play a role in your case, so you should take care in how you act online during the time of your case.

  • In general, avoid posting anything on public social media following an accident. The less content you put online, the less openings you give the defense to find something that could pull your case into question.
  • Another option to social media radio silence is to switch all your accounts to the highest level of privacy settings. This will prevent anyone from viewing your posts unless they’re in your friend network. However, know that nothing you post online is completely private.
  • If you set accounts to private, it’s important not to accept any new friend requests until your case is over. There’s a chance the defense will set up a dummy account to see your posts and gather evidence against you. You should uphold this rule until your case has been completed.
  • Remember that your account isn’t the only one that can provide evidence against your case. Ask your friends and family to avoid posting anything about you, including photos, videos, and even mentioning you in their posts.
  • Even if your account is on private, you should avoid posting anything related to your accident. These posts are very open to twisting of words by outside parties, as are posts about the status of your case and other legal matters.

Because of the public record status of social media, you should be incredibly careful with your accounts during the time of your case. Taking the appropriate precautions can help you protect your right to compensation. If you need help with a personal injury claim or understanding the effect of social media on your case, contact Begam Marks & Traulsen, P.A. for a free consultation. Our Phoenix personal injury lawyers can help maximize your claim.