Social media has revolutionized the way we interact with one another. We post our favorite pictures on Instagram, update our Facebook statuses to reflect where we are and what we are doing at any given moment, and tweet our comments for all the cyber world to see.
While sharing on social media has numerous advantages when it comes to networking and keeping in touch with family and friends, it also has disadvantages. Oversharing is a common problem across social media platforms, and revealing too much about yourself can have a serious impact on your personal and business relationships, as well as your finances.
When it comes to personal injury cases, what you share or do not share on social media can make a huge difference in terms of getting the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses.
The Problem with Social Media and How It Can Hurt Your Personal Injury Claim
According to the Pew Research Center, roughly two-thirds of all adults in the United States participate on social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Over the last 10 years, social media has broadened its appeal to include everyone from pre-teens to the elderly, and has now become a forum for sharing information on nearly every aspect of our lives.
According to Pew, as more of us participate in social media, its influence has broadened. What you share or do not share can affect not only your personal life, but also your work and professional life as well.
In many circumstances, what you say or do online can be used against you to dispute a personal injury claim. According to a Huffington Post article on insurance companies and social media, the internet is often one of the first places insurers go when investigating a claim. Social media posts can be used not only to dispute the severity of your injuries, but the time, date, and locations in which posts were made can be used to invalidate your version of events.
The Huffington Post article indicates that even the other social media sites you visit can be used against you. “Liking” or following certain health or wellness pages may tip off insurance investigators of preexisting conditions or issues that they may try to say contributed to your injury, such as drug or alcohol problems.
Social Media in Court
Online photos and posts are increasingly being used as evidence in court. What, where and when you post is increasingly being used as evidence in personal injury lawsuits, and may cast doubt on your version of events, your character, or the extent of your injuries. Examples of the types of posts that may affect a personal injury claim include the following:
- Photos or videos showing you engaged in physical activity, such as doing yard work, running a marathon, or going out for an evening of dancing, which can be used to disprove the injuries you claim to have suffered.
- Status updates indicating you are engaging in activities that are contrary to your injuries or to your required treatment.
- Posts inadvertently admitting liability, or casting doubt as to whether you were partially to blame for your accident.
- Internet tracking applications, which can be used to discredit your version of the circumstances leading up to your accident and the actual time your accident occurred.
While the rules of evidence may eventually find written social media postings inadmissible, it is difficult to dispute hard evidence such as pictures and videos, both of which are easily located on many of our social media sites.
How Can I Protect Myself on Social Media During a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
If you have been injured in an accident or as the result of someone’s negligent behavior and are pursuing a personal injury lawsuit, it is vitally important to use care when posting information about yourself or your activities on social media. The consumer advocacy group Consumer Reports advises that you can protect yourself and your privacy by doing the following:
- Use caution when making comments or posting photos or video.
- Realize that once something is posted, it may remain in the internet permanently, even after you have deleted it.
- Change your social media settings from “public” to “private.”
- Disallow yourself to be tagged from video, photos, or comments posted by others.
- Block applications that automatically share your information.
In some circumstances, it may be best to refrain from using social media until your case has been resolved.
What NOT to Do on Social Media
According to Consumer Reports, problems with social media most frequently arise due to poor choices in terms of making comments or posting information. If you are involved in a personal injury claim with an insurance company or are pursuing compensation through a personal injury lawsuit, what you do not do is often just as important as what you do. Examples include:
- Do not post comments about your accident or any of the details surrounding your case.
- Do not comment on the financial details regarding your claim.
- Do not give information on when you returned to work or when you “got back to normal” or resumed regular activities after your injury.
- Do not name or attempt to contact other parties involved in your claim.
- Do not post negative comments about the insurance company or the amount of time it is taking them to settle your claim.
Let Us Assist You Today
If you have been injured in an accident or as the result of someone’s reckless or negligent conduct, contact Chiumento Law, PLLC today. Our experienced Florida personal injury attorneys can advise you on the best course of action in your particular case and assist you in getting the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
We have been serving residents of the Palm Coast, Ormond Beach, and Flagler and Volusia Counties since 1973. Call or contact us online today for a free consultation.