Social media has enabled people all around the world to connect and keep up with each other in ways like never before. Networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more have all given us the ability to share what’s happening with our lives using text, pictures, videos, and even live streaming through the camera on our smart phone. When you suffer a serious injury, you may be tempted to share some of the details of your accident in this way, since your friends just have to know how awesome and painful the aftermath looks.
However, before you make that post, you should stop to consider the impact of what you could be doing. The information you are sharing could have a major impact on your case should you ever seek compensation for the negligence that caused you to become injured. Let’s take a closer look at how this happens.
Social Media is Available to Everyone
No matter how tightly you lock down your privacy settings on social media profiles or how selective you are in choosing those who gain access to your posts, anything you post on social media automatically becomes public. While you may not be concerned about your friends seeing a picture of you after your accident (after all, that’s why you shared the picture in the first place, right?), you should be concerned about those who are not your friends and who are looking to discredit your injury claim to avoid paying compensation gaining access to that info.
For example, let’s say you were involved in a car accident and injured your hand in a way that prevents you from being able to work properly. However, not long after, you post a picture of you with friends at a bowling alley. While you may not have ever actually picked up a ball thanks to your injury, the defendant in your case may use that picture to try to claim that you are faking your injury and that your case should be dropped. Because this picture was posted in what is considered to be a public space, it will be admissible as evidence and could have a huge impact on your case.
You also want to be extremely careful about what you say about your injury on social media. When you are injured, you do not want to post details about what’s happening in your case, nor do you want to discuss how you’re hurting, what the results of your latest doctor’s test are, or anything that could pertain to your injury whatsoever. Much like the picture example listed above, these posts are public information and could therefore be used against you and submitted as testimony on your behalf.
Social Media Best Practices
Social media may be great for connecting with friends or others with whom you share similar interests, but it’s not a great place to discuss important legal matters. When you are involved in an injury case, the best course of action is just to get off social media for a little while until your case resolves in order to avoid any potential missteps being used against you. But this isn’t always feasible, or even possible for some people, like those who use these networks for their career or vital communication. If that’s the case, here are a few good tips to consider.
- Always assume you are being watched at all times. It’s actually not uncommon for the attorneys on the other side to carefully watch your social media to see if you say anything they could use to the advantage of their client and their interests. Even if your profile is private, assume anything you post can and will make it back to the other side.
- Consider how anything you post could impact your case if misconstrued and used against you. Before you hit that “post” button, think about what you’re about to tell the world for a second, and ask yourself “How could this be used against me in the worst possible way?” If the information could be damaging to your claim, then you might want to reconsider posting it. Only post if you feel confident that nothing in the post could possibly be used against you.
- If you have posted about your condition on social media before starting your claim, discuss it with your attorney right from the outset. Your attorney will advise you on the best course to proceed before you file your claim. They also could go through your posts and determine if anything there could be used as evidence to your advantage, such as images of the accident scene or post times which corroborate your side of the story against the other party’s.