Social media is the preferred outlet for most people to share their lives with friends and relatives both near and far. For many adults in this day and age, it seems almost second nature to share every facet of your life on social media. However, at Jeff GOULD Law we caution social media users who have a pending personal injury claim or lawsuit to exercise care and caution with what they share. That’s because there are several ways that the use of social media can potentially jeopardize your personal injury claim. Today, we’ll explain how social media posting can jeopardize an otherwise successful personal injury case.
Social Media Can Be Used Against You
Your profile information, pictures, posts, videos, and comments can all be used against you during a personal injury case. Each post you make can give the opposing counsel’s team an invaluable source of fodder against you. And, it’s not only the defense team that will be looking. During the lawsuit process, insurance companies (who will eventually be the ones to payout your compensation) will investigate every aspect of your life to determine what and how you’re doing. Any posting to social media has the potential to contradict the testimony you gave about the severity of your injuries.
Anything You Post Could Be Subject to Discovery or Court Order
“Discovery” is an initial phase of a lawsuit where both parties exchange information to build their respective cases. Even if your social media accounts are set to private, an opposing lawyer can require you to produce printouts of your social media activity during this process. Each defendant has the right to seek as much information as possible about you including information that is not public record.
- Court Order
During a typical case, discovery is conducted without court intervention, however, either party can petition the court if you fail to produce information that’s been requested. Furthermore, a court order can require a deactivated account to be reactivated, and even deleted accounts can be recalled by subpoena from a provider’s servers.
In general, it is best to avoid posting anything – even content you think is innocent and entirely irrelevant to your situation. Let’s take a look at some more ways social media could damage your personal injury claim.
- Your Posts Could Contradict Your Testimony
You may post something on social media that could be seen as contradictory to what you’re claiming in the case. For example, If you stated that your injuries were severe then posted on Instagram that you’re relaxing with friends and enjoying yourself. Taken out of context, this can paint a picture that implies your injuries weren’t severe enough to have a huge impact on your life. Seemingly contradictory social media posts can completely ruin your case.
- Your Check-Ins Could “Prove” Mobility
Check-ins on Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms could show that you’re participating in daily activities that are contradictory to your alleged injuries. For example, if you’re claiming limited mobility, a check in at your yoga studio could imply you’re more mobile than you said. Location posts can count as evidence against you.
- Anything Can Be Taken Out Of Context
Social media posts and what they represent can easily be taken out of context. For example, if you post a picture of your kids hiking, the other side might ask who took the picture. If the answer is you, they’ll have proof that you were on a hiking trail. Anything you post has the ability to call your testimony and your case into question.You never know how the other side will try to twist your words and your posts. Trying to monitor your social media use with a critical eye is too risky when your recovery is on the line.
- Even Family and Friends Can Cause Issues
Even the comments and posts made by your family and friends can hurt your case. Especially if they are witnesses. They may inadvertently contradict your claims about your injuries or make statements regarding how much money you’re seeking from your settlement. These things have the potential to paint you in a negative light or even hurt your evidence in the case. Furthermore, if you decide to update your friends and family about your accident, you run the risk of saying something that could conflict with your initial statement.
After your accident, your doctor will determine how severe your injuries are, how they will be treated and what your recovery time will be. Even though not all injuries continuously cause pain, any photos you post of yourself up and around could be used by the opposite side as proof that your injuries weren’t so severe after all (even though they could be mistaken).
What Should I Do?
If you’ve been injured and are involved in a personal injury claim, limit your social media usage to liking other people’s posts and sharing news articles. Don’t post anything personal. Additionally, ask friends and family not to mention the case and not to tag you in any posts or updates. Be sure to adjust your social privacy settings to ensure they don’t have the ability to tag you in case they forget. Your best option is to lay low on social media sites until your case is fully resolved.
How We Can Help
We hope that these tips will help you understand how potentially dangerous your social media activity can be for your personal injury claim. If you have been injured in the Tucson, Marana, Oro Valley or Sahuarita area and are pursuing an injury claim, it’s essential to contact a qualified personal injury attorney. At Jeff GOULD Law, we are the Attorney in Your Corner, and we can help provide expert guidance at every stage of your case. Don’t let a simple social media mis-step compromise your ability to recover the compensation you need to get back to your life.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this blog/site is NOT, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. It is for general informational use only. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. Further, this information does not create an attorney-client relationship.