Are you on social media? If you’re like 78 percent of the U.S. population, you are. It’s another way for us to connect with others and keep up with what’s going on in the world. However, if you are involved in a personal injury claim, it may be time to put your social media participation on temporary hold.
Why Should You Be Careful With Social Media In Personal Injury Cases?
Any comments or pictures you post online, no matter how innocent they may be, have the potential to undermine your claim and reduce your settlement. If your back was hurt in a car accident, but you post pictures of yourself bowling, it won’t seem to the court that you’re suffering all that much.
If you’re claiming emotional damages from some event but post images of you smiling at a party or talking about what a great day you had, it will seem that your emotional toll due to your injury really isn’t an issue after all.
If you share plans for your settlement, it may give the impression that you’re only in it for the cash. Even if you’re completely in the right, and you’ve had one good day out of a string of bad ones, your post can work against you.
Social Media is a New Tool for Investigators
Just as employers and even potential dates look you up online, lawyers and investigators do, too. Social media is a rich resource and people are often quite free with what they post. Users have a false expectation of privacy, but social media is public. Because your status updates are easily accessed and time-stamped, it’s simple to create a timeline that proves your claim is false.
Can’t You Just Change Your Security Settings To ‘Private?’
Sadly, it isn’t safe enough to make all of your posts and pictures private. For one thing, you face too many possibilities for mistakes. Maybe you forget to click some essential box, or maybe someone shares something of yours or mentions it in his or her own post, which is public. There have also been cases in which the court has granted extensive access into private accounts. And, never underestimate the determination and ingenuity of investigators to gather the information they need.
The Safest Way to Use Social Media in Personal Injury Cases
All in all, the safest bet is to refrain from active participation in social media until your case is resolved. Don’t post yourself and don’t let your friends post pictures or information about you, your injury or your recovery. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Laws regarding social media in personal injury claims can be difficult to navigate and each case has its own special set of circumstances. Your wisest move is to get the advice of an attorney who specializes in these types of cases. Kerr Law Firm has extensive experience handling personal injury cases in Orange County and can advise you on how to limit your social media presence to benefit your personal injury settlement.