At Geoff McDonald and Associates, P.C. we understand how important protecting the details of your case are. We also understand the temptation to share moments of your life on social media; especially when something traumatic occurs. That’s why we wanted to share about the importance of not posting on social media after an accident, especially when filing a personal injury claim.
Whether it’s Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or a personal blog; social media has become the most natural way to update our friends and families. However, when you’ve been in an accident and continue to stay active across public forums, the content you share can be taken out of context, ruining your chances of winning your case.
How Social Media can Weaken your Personal Injury Claim
Lawyers and insurance companies are always searching for inconsistencies that can be used to discredit your claim. According to the Stored Communications Act, they have the right to subpoena every piece of information encompassed within your social profiles.
The photo you tweeted of your car being totaled; the one with the witty caption? They’re ready to use that as ammunition to poke holes in your claim. That blog post you’re thinking about sharing, the one that touches on overcoming trauma? Think again.
Insurance companies refute personal injury claims of trauma or emotional distress. You can expect your behavior online to be analyzed, and anything that you share to be misconstrued. Once your case has been settled, and all of the facts have been fully confirmed, then you can think about sending out that tweet; but only if you know confidentiality is no longer an issue.
What if I turn my Profile to Private?
In the past 10 years, social media has taken the world by storm. In a 2018 study by PEW Research, it was determined that 2/3 of adult Americans use Facebook, and 3/4 of those users are actively using the app on a daily basis. That’s a lot of people sharing what’s going on in their lives. At this point, social media is truly a natural part of how we approach our day-to-day living.
But here’s the thing; when you’ve been in an accident you’re no longer living as you normally would day-to-day. The restrictions that you’re facing from the traumatic experience you’ve encountered should spill over into how you conduct yourself across social media.
The most common misconception is that a private social media profile means that you have control over who’s seeing your content.
Insurance companies and lawyers have the power to obtain whatever they want from your public forums. And it’s not just what you’re posting. Think about all of those unflattering photos you’ve been tagged in on Facebook. You know, the ones where you’re laughing with your friends at dinner? Those photos can be brought up in court and used against your personal injury claim.
It’s easy to forget how powerful of a reach social media can have. Even if your profile is set to private – every time a friend comments on your photo or shares your post, it’s leaving you vulnerable to insurance companies and lawyers assuming inaccuracies in your personal injury claim.
Once content has been posted, it may need to be preserved otherwise you could face legal consequences. It’s best to assume everything you post is going to be read or viewed by the defendants insurance company or their defense attorney’s.
By court order you may be forced to produce all of your social media content; which lawyers, insurance companies, and private investigators may try and use against your case.
Contradicting the Timeline
We all have a tendency to forget the details. It’s a pretty normal human phenomenon. But when you’re filing a personal injury claim, posting on social media after an accident can leave you with a timeline that doesn’t match up. Every time you post on social media it showcases a timestamp.
That timestamp can be used against you if the photo you posted to Facebook is showing you laying on the beach, looking happy and relaxed. It doesn’t matter if you were barely able to walk on that vacation, the content will be taken out of context and used to weaken your claim.
We’ve come up with a couple of suggestions for you to think about when posting to social media after an accident, and we highly recommend you take them into consideration.
- Make sure you have all of your social media profiles are turned to private. This will not stop a court-ordered subpoena, but it will lessen your chances of worsening the issue.
- Be aware that deleting content can be viewed as destruction of evidence, and used against you by the courts. So we strongly advise you not to delete anything you’ve posted. The smartest thing you can do is avoid posting to any of your profiles until your case has been settled.
- Only accept friend requests from people you know. And we mean people you really know.
- Be conscientious of what your friends and family are tagging you in or posting to your profile. The best option is to turn off your comments, remove the option to obtain likes, and make sure no one has the ability to tag you in anything.
We hope this blog post helped to shed some light on a very common issue. If you found it useful – comment, like, and share it with your friends. If you’ve found yourself in need of a personal injury lawyer in Richmond, call Geoff McDonald and Associates, P.C today at (866) 369-9051, or sign up for a free consultation by clicking here. Our legal team is ready to hear your claim, and may be able to increase your chances of recovery.