The majority of Americans use social media. 65% of adults use some form of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. So, what does that have to do with your personal injury claim? What you post can impact your case. What your family posts about your incident can affect the value of your case. Social media can hurt your personal injury case.
If you’re a party to a personal injury case, it’s best to keep your personal life personal. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on your social media accounts.
Why do Social Media Posts Matter
In a personal injury matter, you are seeking compensation for your injuries. You will be expected to present evidence that you are genuinely hurt. This will usually require you to produce medical records, expert and specialist testimony, witnesses of the event, and friends and family who can testify to what you were like before the accident and how the incident affected your life.
The defense is there to put on opposing evidence. The defense’s job is to say that you aren’t hurt or that your injuries weren’t caused by the accident. Often you will hear that your injuries were preexisting or that your injuries just aren’t that bad, you’re exaggerating.
Imagine if you posted something on social media indicating that you were out dancing when you are claiming to have a debilitating back injury. The defense would use that post against you. Let’s say you are claiming mental anguish damages. Assume for me that you are going to tell the jury that you are depressed as a result of your injuries. Now assume that the defense shows the jury pictures from your Facebook account where you are laughing and drinking.
What Not to Post on Social Media
Anything posted to social media is considered social domain, in which you have no reasonable expectation of privacy. Everything that you post, tweet, or share can be used against you.
Here are some suggestions of what NOT to do with your social media account during a personal injury case:
- Don’t talk about the accident
- Don’t talk about your doctor visits
- Don’t share anything that you discuss with your doctors
- Don’t post photos of your injuries
- Don’t reply to posts about your case or your accident and discourage others from discussing your private business online.
These are some things that you should do on social media during a personal injury claim. Here is a list of DOs:
- If your accounts aren’t private, they should be. Public accounts invite the public, including unwanted weirdos.
- Tell your friends and family not to post about your case or your injuries online. You should be keeping details about your case private anyway.
- Ask your friends to keep your personal life personal. Change your settings such that you have to approve anything that is posted about you.
- If you are in litigation already, don’t delete anything. You may be destroying evidence.
A good rule of thumb is not to post anything that you don’t want to be published on the courthouse steps for all the world to see. I tell my kids that nothing goes on the internet that they wouldn’t want me or their grandmother to read.