We all have that one friend—let’s call her Melanie—who shares just about everything she does on social media, from her political opinions to what she had for breakfast that day. After Melanie was injured in a car crash last Tuesday, that’s all she’s been talking about. But hey, who can blame her? After all, getting into an accident—especially if you were injured—is a major talking point. But could Melanie’s social media activity be undercutting her personal injury claim? What if Melanie’s account is private? Is what she posts admissible in court?
If Melanie posts information that contradicts what she stated on her claim—no matter her privacy settings—that can be used against her. For instance, if Melanie filed a lawsuit after a broken arm and subsequently posted a picture at the bowling alley, her claim may be in jeopardy. Even something as innocuous as a check-in at the local gym can ruin her case and any chance of recovering damages. If you know a Melanie, or if you are a Melanie, it’s important that you get in touch with a credible personal injury lawyer who can advise you on how to proceed.
Social Media Mistakes to Avoid After Your Personal Injury Claims
It may feel like second nature to share your life with family and friends on social media. But if you’re in the midst of an ongoing personal injury settlement, it would be smart to exercise great caution. What you post on social media can provide the opposing counsel’s research team fodder to use against you. Here are a few examples of what to avoid when posting on social media:
- Contradicting your own testimony: The insurance company will stop at nothing to settle for as little as possible, and that includes scouring your social media posts for anything that could be portrayed as inconsistent. For example, if you post an image at the ski resort after you claimed your leg was broken—even if you weren’t actually skiing—it could be portrayed as inadvertently showing what you’re physically capable of after your injury. Inconsistent social media posts like this can completely ruin your case.
- Check-ins: Likewise, check-ins at the wrong location on Facebook, Twitter, and other sites can seem as if you’re participating in activities that contradict the injuries you’re asserting. For example, if you’re claiming to have a foot injury, don’t publicly locate yourself at your weekly Zumba class.
- Comments from family and friends: You may be superbly careful with what you post, but if Aunt Susan publicly comments something contradicting your case, you’re also out of luck.
In general, most attorneys advise their clients to stay off social media while their case is still pending. Likewise, it may be in your best interest to continue to monitor your account to make sure that well-meaning friends and family don’t mention you in their posts.
Can Your Social Media Account Be Used Against You If Your Account Is Private?
If the opposing counsel’s research team can’t get ahold of your posts, they won’t be used against you in most situations. But there are sneaky ways to navigate around these privacy settings. For example, if the at-fault party knows any of your friends, they can ask those friends to give them the information voluntarily. Likewise, it’s important to be wary of any new friend requests and followers. These could be from the enemy camp trying to get a closer look and monitor you. Deleting your profile altogether may arouse suspicion, and the court can order you to reactivate your account if this is the case.
Additionally, defendants can sometimes ask you to produce printouts of your social media activity in the discovery phase of a lawsuit where parties exchange information to build their respective cases. Even though your private account isn’t public record, either party can petition the court if the other side doesn’t want to produce information that the requesting party believes is relevant.
It’s safest to avoid social media altogether, but if you absolutely must, try to limit your usage to liking other people’s posts and sharing news articles.
Contact an Expert Florida Personal Injury Attorney
If you’ve been injured in an accident and are pursuing an injury claim, it’s important that you get in touch with a qualified personal injury attorney. The trusted Boca Raton personal injury attorneys Baker Legal Team can help build, file, and present your case. Attorney Robert B. Baker can provide expert guidance at every stage of the legal process and can help you gain an understanding of the things you should avoid to make your case as simple and successful as possible. That includes helping you make sure to avoid some of the most common social media pitfalls.
Robert is a Board-Certified personal injury lawyer who’s recovered millions of dollars for clients throughout his career. With over 30 years of experience helping injured victims get the compensation owed to them, Robert will give your case the attention it deserves. Give us a call at (561) 320-0000 or complete our contact form today!