In today’s world, posting on social media about major events in your life has become second nature to many individuals. It’s only natural that after you’ve sustained an unexpected injury, you may feel inclined to write a post, and maybe even include pictures, to alert your friends, family, and followers about your misfortune and reassure everybody that you’re okay. You might even feel tempted to talk about how the accident happened and try to assign blame—especially if the accident was caused by another person.
Making the decision to post any information about an injury that you may be considering filing a personal injury claim for is a decision that can potentially harm your claim more than help it—especially when your emotions may be running high soon after the incident occurred. There are many reasons why this is the case. Let’s take a look at some of them.
How Social Media Posts Can Be Used Against You
We’ve all come to use social media as a highlight reel, meaning we tend to post about good events that happen or positive reactions or emotions we experience. We have also used social media to post about the bad things that happen to us in our lives. So after a car accident where you are seriously injured or emotionally affected, you still might decide to post pictures of you smiling to try to hide the fact that you’re in pain and your life is not as it used to be.
A situation like this can be surprisingly detrimental in a legal case because the defense in the case or the insurance company may believe that you are misrepresenting the severity of your injuries, implying that you are not actually hurt because you seem happy online. Insurance companies and jurors may not give you the benefit of the doubt and may argue that you’re lying or making your symptoms out to be more severe than they actually are when it comes time for a settlement conference or trial.
Other than being used to disprove your injury claim, if you’re trying to argue that you also suffered emotional distress, then your social media activity could further hurt your case. If you state that an accident has caused you to become depressed, or experience anguish, anxiety, isolation, or loss of enjoyment, but your social media posts appear contrary to those negative emotions, be sure that the defense and insurance company will try to use those against you.
Is Social Media Public Information?
One of the most common questions law firms receive when it comes to posting on social media when you’re filing a personal injury claim relates to concerns about privacy. Are your social media posts considered public information? The answer is yes. You must presume that anything that you post that others can look at, depending on your privacy settings, can be used as evidence in your case, whether they support your claim or not.
This all might sound complicated, and you might feel unsure about posting on social media at all after your accident. The best thing for you to do is to stay off social media completely after an accident so that nothing can be misinterpreted or used against you. If your social media settings are for anyone in the public to see your posts, you can be sure that the defense and insurance company are looking through your social media from day one of an accident. Even if you set your accounts to private so that they are not available for the public to view, the current trend is that judges will permit defense counsel to request postings and may even give access to your account in certain circumstances. Your attorney will also be able to advise you when it comes to social media, so you are not in jeopardy of losing or significantly harming your case.
At Schweickert Ganassin Krzak Rundio, LLP, we understand your need to be taken seriously in your case so you can get full compensation for your physical, emotional, and financial damages after an injury-causing accident that wasn’t your fault. If you want to talk about your potential case and the next steps you need to take, reach out to our office today for a free, no obligation consultation. We may be able to help.