If you have been involved in a serious accident, such as an automobile accident or a slip and fall, and you are either suing for compensation or are planning to sue for compensation, it’s important that you stay off social media. Posting on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other similar sites will only harm your case.
Your updates, posts, and tweets on these sites may contain information about you that may be used by attorneys on the other side of your case. Social media sites have been a huge, valuable source of information for defense attorneys. They are experienced in finding your information and using it against you. There are many, many instances of insurance defense attorneys using plaintiffs’ words against them during litigation.
Even if you don’t intend to harm your case, an innocent post could have lasting repercussions. Many personal injury cases have been completely ruined by social media posts. For example, if you were harmed in a car accident and claim that you are suffering from whiplash, and you log in to Facebook and “check in” at Six Flags, any decent insurance defense attorney will find that post and use that against you in court. Even if you were in pain throughout the trip to Six Flags, were unable to ride any rides, only went to supervise your children, etc., the fact that you were at Six Flags looks bad for your case. If you are able to enjoy a fun day at Six Flags, why should you recover any compensation?
A common mistake personal injury plaintiffs make is assuming that if they adjust their privacy settings on their social media accounts, insurance companies will not see their information. That is a critical mistake that could literally cost you tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Once something is posted online, it is online forever and cannot be deleted. Do not bet the future of your case on what some social media company tells you about your privacy – assume that everything you post can be seen by everyone.
Another mistake you may make is allowing others to post things about you without your knowledge. It’s common for groups of friends to “tag” other friends as being at an event or location, as well as to post group pictures. Although this may be done innocently, it may also come back to haunt your case. For example, if your friends “tag” you as being on an out-of-town trip or participating in a strenuous activity such as rock climbing, the burden will be on you to prove that you actually were in pain on the whole trip or didn’t actually climb the rocks.
It’s also important that you do not lie about your level of activity after an injury. Do not tell the defense attorneys that you are bedridden when you are actually able to dance at your friend’s wedding – this will establish you as a liar and will hurt your claim.
There have been many legal situations ruined by social media accounts, including not only personal injury cases, but also divorce cases and even criminal cases. You should speak with your attorney in more detail about how and when you can use social media while your case is ongoing.
If you have been injured in an automobile or another accident, call San Francisco personal injury attorneys Micha Star Liberty or Seth I. Rosenberg at 415-896-1000 or 510-645-1000. We can help advise you on the best course of action to take with your case, including advising you on how to use or not use social media. Call us today to learn more or to schedule your free consultation.