Why You Should Stay Off Social Media During a Personal Injury Claim
It’s almost hard to imagine that social media is a recent phenomenon and has only been with us for less than 20 years. Today, almost everyone has a multitude of social media accounts, from Facebook to Twitter, Instagram, TikTok; the list goes on and on.
Some people are seriously addicted to their accounts where their actions receive “likes” and substitute for actual human contact. Others have found that amassing “likes” means eyeballs, and advertisers compensate them for their role as influencers to encourage the public to buy a product.
What then if you have a personal injury lawsuit?
One of the first things you may hear from your attorney is NOT to post anything concerning your injury or lawsuit. That would include anything about the other party, the corporation involved, the other side’s law firm, or the accident itself.
As the saying goes, “anything you say may be used against you in a court of law.”
Do not think that the other side will hesitate to use what they view as incriminating evidence against you?
Whether a large pharmaceutical company or an insurance defense firm, both employ individuals who make it their business to search your accounts for any post that can become part of discovery.
Evidence they uncover may include:
- An inadvertent admission that you might have been partially responsible for the accident
- Disparaging the other side and their tactics
- An admission that another accident or event may have led to your injury
- An acknowledgment that you feel okay
- Pictures of you enjoying a fun vacation, which might tend to undermine pain and suffering damage claims
Again, anything you say can and will be used against you. For this reason, it’s best to stay off social media altogether in case you say something that you deem to be innocent, but the other side tries to use to its advantage.
Social Media Settings
If you continue to have social media accounts, one option you may choose is to set them to private. A private setting will limit the chance the other side can view your posts. And understand that nothing is really private, whether on your account or contributing a post to a Facebook group.
On Facebook, you can adjust your setting to limit anyone outside of Facebook from seeing your profile.
If you receive a friend request, do not accept it. You have no idea where it came from and maybe from someone trying to access your account. In most states, professional conduct rules prevent law firms from contacting a represented party, but there are usually ways around the rules if one is unethical.
Limit Your Online Discussions
If you cannot stay off social media for some reason, certainly limit any discussion about your injury or your medical treatment. The other side, generally the insurance company, will be looking for anything to discredit your claim of damage. That might mean looking for posts or images of you skiing, hiking, or running. If you claim to have broken your leg, they will look for evidence of you walking without crutches or a leg brace.
It’s also a good idea to avoid posting anything relating to travel since someone who is injured generally doesn’t think about travel, even if your thoughts are for the future. Avoid posting any pictures of going to the gym or attending a party unless you want to harm your case.
Avoid going to any public events such as concerts or plays, even if you have tickets. That, too, can show you are not as injured as you claim.
Understand that everything digital is considered discoverable by the other side in a personal injury case, even if you delete it. That would include emails, images, text messages; the other side can subpoena your email provider. Preserve the integrity of your case by staying offline as much as possible.
At this time, it is also a good idea to tell your friends and family to avoid posting anything about your accident or your condition. They, too, can be monitored concerning your legal action and accident.
Your Alabama Personal Injury Lawyer
Attorney Chip Nix has decades of experienced representing clients for personal injuries in Alabama. Attorney Nix can provide you a free initial consultation so you can discuss your case and how to avoid making any mistakes that could harm your claim. Call today at 334-203-6669 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.
University of Texas Center for Identity