How Social Media Can Harm Your Accident Case
Updated: Dec 17, 2020
Social media is a powerful, influential technology that is pervasive in this day and age. What is the first thing that you do when something important happens to you? Do you post it on Facebook or Instagram? Social media platforms make it easy to share news and events with family and friends, and if you did not intentionally choose the strictest privacy settings, the entire world. However, over-sharing can be a real cause for concern - especially if you were recently involved in a car accident.
“It was just one post and I deleted it later.”
After an accident, you will likely feel emotional, confused, and in shock. Your first instinct may be to post about your ordeal on Facebook. When posting is done as a knee-jerk reaction to a traumatic event, you may not realize how it can affect you later on. Certain statements made on social media can inadvertently imply that you had some level of responsibility for the accident. Words can easily be twisted in court. It is important to remember that the other driver, his insurance company, or attorney may try to place some or all of the blame on you for the accident. If you make statements on social media about the accident, you open up the opportunity for these words to be used against you.
Here's How Social Media Can Be Used Against You In Court
It is common practice today for Courts to admit social media content as a form of evidence - both for and against you. If you were injured in a auto accident and it was someone else’s fault, you have the right to seek damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc. The negligent party, or defendant, may hire a lawyer. As part of the process, the defendant’s lawyer has the right to discovery, which is to require you and your attorney to produce any information relevant to the accident, as well as its aftermath. In this day and age, it is common for defense lawyers to ask for copies of the plaintiffs’ social media posts. Say, for example, that the defendant’s lawyer discovers an Instagram picture of you dancing at a party soon after the accident. That post has the potential to harm your chances of receiving maximum compensation for your injuries.
Of course, the reverse is also true. Let’s say you are involved in an accident and you do not believe it is your fault. If savvy law firms, like Sheeley Law, find a Facebook post of the defendant drinking with friends an hour before the accident, that can help the plaintiff convince the judge that the defendant was negligent and, therefore, should pay damages.
Should You Delete Your Social Media Posts/Accounts?
If you heed the warnings above, you might conclude that it is best to delete your social media accounts following an accident. However, this is where it can get even trickier. Deleting posts may be construed by a judge as intentionally destroying evidence. A better approach would be to simply stop posting until any personal injury claims resulting from the accident have been resolved. A client is permitted to adjust their privacy settings, but do not take any further actions that the court may deem as suspicious.
Why You Need to Consult with an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Social Media can destroy even the strongest of cases, as insurance companies will attempt to use even the most innocent of comments to raise doubt about the extent of your injuries and the validity of your claim. If you are in an accident and have sustained injuries, it is important that you avoid posting about the incident on social media and contact an experienced personal injury attorney right away.
Attorney Ann Sheeley has more than 25 years of experience. She has a proven track record of helping her clients obtain maximum compensation for their injuries, losses, and pain and suffering. For more information or a free consultation, contact Rhode Island and Massachusetts Personal Injury Attorney Ann Sheeley at 401-619-5555.