Social media has rapidly become a commonly used form of communication across a wide spectrum of individuals, both young and old. In fact, according to a Pew Research Center report, 74% of adults were users in 2014. This number is estimated to have vastly grown since that time. Given that social media provides a forum for individuals to share everything from thoughts and feelings to experiences and photos, it seems only natural for people to want to share the details of their injuries after being involved in an accident. Unfortunately, this is a massive mistake.
Here is what you need to know about the impact your use of social media can have on your personal injury claim:
- It can harm your claim of physical injury: If you are pursuing a personal injury claim, you are probably suffering from some physical injuries, such as chronic pain, a broken bone, or a soft tissue injury. This means you are probably trying to recover damages for pain and suffering as well as medical expenses, which requires that you substantiate these claims with the testimony of a medical expert or other specialists and witnesses. The defense will do their best to suggest your injuries are nowhere near as serious as you say they are, which will include scouring your social media accounts. If they find a photo of you that is contrary to the claims you have made, this can deeply wound your case. For example, if you are claiming an inability to enjoy activities you once loved, such as hiking, but the defense finds a photo of you smiling while on a hike in the mountains, a judge might rule against you.
- It can be used as evidence to disprove a claim of emotional distress: Physical injuries cause more than just physical pain. They also involve emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, anxiety, depression, and more. These are known as non-economic damages, which claimants are allowed to be compensated for. However, if the defense goes through your Facebook page and sees pictures of you with friends, laughing, smiling, and generally enjoying life, this is going to be a problem for you. They might use it as evidence to disprove your claim of emotional distress.
- Social posts count as public record: You might think it is not possible for your posts to be used as evidence and that it probably violates your privacy, but anything you post publicly on the internet, and anything anyone posts about you, is actually fair game. A warrant or consent is only necessary for private messages.
- What you should do if you are in the midst of a personal injury claim: The best advice for anyone who is trying to recover damages in a personal injury case is to simply refrain from using social media until it has reached a resolution. Posting anything online during this time can be risky, even if you think it seems harmless or unrelated to your claim. It is also wise not to accept any new friend requests during this time. Insurance agents often try to rummage around social media accounts for evidence by sending friend requests in an attempt to access more of your posts and online activities. Be sure to also ask friends and family to not post anything related to you after the accident.
Ventura Personal Injury Lawyers
If you or a loved one was injured due to the negligent actions of another party, the skilled Ventura personal injury attorneys at Haffner Law Group can provide the personalized attention your case needs. Our legal team will walk you through each step of the process, from your initial consultation to the completion of your case.