How Social Media Can Negatively Impact Your Personal Injury Settlement
If you’ve been involved in an accident, it may be tempting to update your friends and family on social media about your recovery and the steps you are taking to move forward. If you’re involved in a personal injury case, it’s a good idea to put your social posting on hold. While it’s always good practice to be mindful of what you post on social media, this is especially true when you’ve been injured in an accident. Your social media posts can be entered as evidence to undermine your claims, and you could be damaging your case without even realizing it. Courts today are open to admitting social media content as evidence, and any updates you make could negatively impact your settlement amount if the posts appear to contradict the claims you make in court.
Social Media and Accident Injuries
In many cases, your personal injury case is based on physical injuries caused by an accident. If you are claiming physical injuries, particularly long-term injuries, you need to be careful about how you present yourself. If you make an innocuous sounding post to reassure your friends that you “are feeling better”, then this post may be misconstrued to try to argue that you are completely healed from your injuries. Similarly, if someone posts a picture of you doing anything physical, this can severely weaken any potential for a claim involving debilitating injuries. There is not much room for nuance in the age of social media. Instagram and TikTok videos have so shortened our attention span that people no longer have time for explanations. Nobody will be listening to your explanation that you were simply trying to get back to your normal routine, and that you paid the price for several days after the physical activity.
Some social media posts may even form the basis for a fraud complaint against you. Consider a post that features you mowing your lawn or chopping wood at the same time you are making a claim for lost wages. The insurance company or opposing attorney will be looking for any possible holes in your claims, and your social media activity can be a goldmine if you’re not careful.
How Confidential Information Stays Confidential
Even if you think your settlement details aren’t a big deal, you need to be careful about anything you share about settlement negotiations in your case. Don’t disclose anything you’ve discussed with your attorney. You may be tempted to comment on other’s posts with your own experience, but this too can be discovered by the opposing side and considered a waiver of otherwise confidential communications. Until your case is finalized, it’s best not to say anything publicly, especially on social media.
Social Media Best Practices
In general, your personal injury attorney will likely advise you to stay off social media for the duration of your case. Even if you lock your profile down, there are still ways that your social media can be used against you. However, if you choose to continue using social media, there are some best practices that can help protect you. First, don’t post any updates or photos about your injuries, no matter how innocuous you may think the post is. Never say anything about your conversations with your attorney, settlement offers you’ve received, or strategies you are considering. In addition, don’t allow yourself to be tagged by anyone. You may have a clean profile, but if you are tagged by someone else, you are still visible to others. Finally, don’t accept any friend requests from anyone you don’t know personally in real life. It could easily be an investigator posing as a friend of a friend, and when you accept their request, you are allowing them a full look at your personal life.
A court can order your social media posts as evidence, and if you try to delete posts that you shared carelessly or that others tagged you in, you could be accused of destroying or altering evidence. It’s best to limit your social media use as much as possible during your claim, and even consider suspending your accounts for the duration of the claim. Listen to your attorney’s advice, as they are there to look out for your best interests. The more you take their advice, the easier it will be for them to assist you. If you’ve been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, we can help you get a fair settlement. Contact Arthur Law Firm (419) 782-9881 for a free consultation right away.