Let’s be honest. We all use social media these days, so it’s inevitable at some point in your case that you’ll be tempted to post an update about your health status so that friends and family members know that you’re okay.
And while you may be shaken up in the days following your accident and feel the compulsive urge to vent about your frustrations, fears, and health, for the sake of your legal claim, do not post anything remotely related to your accident onto social media. Everything you say or do that can be recorded or obtained by the insurance company will be used against you during your case, so remember that discretion is one of the greatest weapons in your arsenal during this time.
What other limitations should you take into account following your car injury accident? And how can posting to social media affect your case? Let’s dive into the details.
Nothing You Post on Social Media is Private
Even if your account is set to private, nothing you post on social media is actually private. This means that court orders can require any social media company to hand over your account information, including deleted or private posts.
In the discovery process, insurance companies can request to view your social media information in an attempt to find any information that could discredit your claim. Any post could be used against your case, even posts entirely unrelated to your accident.
For instance, if the defense finds photos of you attending a party a few days after your accident, they may try to insist that your injury is not as severe as you claim it is. Likewise, if you suffer from emotional trauma following your car accident, any posts that suggest otherwise, such as cheerful or optimistic quotes, can be misconstrued by the defense to claim you’re not suffering from trauma.
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Things NOT to Do on Social Media Following Your Car Accident
There are a few things you should never do on social media after you’ve been involved in an automobile accident to ensure you protect your case.
DON’T Post Anything Onto Social Media Until Your Case Is Resolved
You should approach your case with a “Law and Order” mind frame— that is, imagine that anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. Even if you believe you’re posting something harmless on social media, it’s entirely possible that post could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
The best course of action is to go radio silent until your claim is fully settled. Innocuous things such as checking in to a yoga class, writing a Yelp review, or tracking your history in Google Maps could ruin your case. If you must post on social media, always consult your lawyer first.
DON’T Accept New Friend Requests on Any Platform
If you aren’t 100% sure who a person is, do not accept their friend request. Chances are good it’s the insurance company attempting to collect information against you, and once they have access to your information, it could be game over for your case.
DON’T Delete Social Media Posts
We’ve all made mistakes posting things to social media. However, if you think one of your posts might endanger your case and you choose to delete it, the defense may try to argue that you are tampering with evidence, especially if they have already sent a request to use it as evidence.
Regardless of whether you delete a post or not, the social media platform can restore old or deleted information, which is why it’s so critical not to make any posts at all during this time.
DON’T Comment, Like, or Vote on Anyone Else’s Posts
It’s not just posting to social media that you should be concerned about— any social media activity can be used against you, including comments, likes, votes, and tags.
Politely ask your family and friends for privacy during this time if their comments or tags become disruptive. Anything they say can be used as evidence in your case as well.
DON’T Keep Your Account Set to Public
If your account settings aren’t set to private, they should be. A public account is easily accessible by insurance companies, including nearly all of your posts and photos. Setting it to private may make it more difficult for them to collect information against your case, so this should be one of the first things you do immediately after your accident.
DON’T Forget About Any Other Social Media Accounts
Most people have several different social media accounts, and it’s crucial to ensure that no one is tagging, auto-posting, or commenting on any of them. Be sure to audit your accounts, including older social media profiles that may have any recent information that would affect your case status.
DON’T Check-In to Places Online
While checking in may seem harmless, if you accidentally check in to a place that would contradict the extent of your injuries or somewhere that the defense could use as evidence against you, then it could jeopardize your case.
Even if you’ve been cleared to work out or go out dancing with friends, checking in to these public places could cause the defense to misconstrue the details of your recovery process. Turn off any geo-location software and avoid checking in anywhere until your claim is resolved.
DO Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
While there are undoubtedly many don’ts regarding your social media, the one thing that you should definitely do is hire an experienced car accident lawyer. An attorney will help protect your rights by providing guidance regarding your social media accounts. Because understanding what is okay and not okay to post can be complex and confusing, an attorney will ensure nothing in your online content will incriminate your case.
Additionally, your attorney will provide guidance about which posts can safely be deleted so that you won’t be charged with something serious such as the destruction of evidence. To best protect your case and yourself, hiring an auto accident attorney is invaluable.
When it comes to posting on social media following your accident, the short and simple answer is: just don’t.
If you have questions about whether or not you should be posting something to social media, the answer 90% of the time is probably no, so it’s best to play it safe and refrain from posting anything.
If you still feel the compulsive urge to post, always consult your personal injury lawyer first. A professional automobile accident attorney will protect your case and provide guidance so that you don’t accidentally do anything to endanger your odds of receiving maximum compensation for your claim.