We live in an increasingly digitized society, and most people use social media multiple times a day to stay in touch with family and friends and keep up on what is going on. Updating our status, posting photos of what we are up to, and checking in on what our connections are up to has become a part of our daily routine. Many people also like to share news stories and post their own opinions about current events or things that are happening in their personal lives.
What most people don’t realize is that social media can adversely affect a legal case they may be involved in. For example, if you are injured in a car accident, it may be tempting to tell your friends and family about it on Facebook. Being injured in an accident is a traumatic life event, so it is understandable that you would want to let your family and friends know about it. This is where the trouble usually starts.
Reporting the accident on your social media timeline may not do a great deal of harm, but when your friends start asking you how the accident happened, how badly you were hurt, and other questions about the accident details, the answers you give them can be damaging to your case.
Here are some ways that social media activity can negatively impact your personal injury lawsuit:
- Comments you Make about the Accident: If you say something on social media that in any way undermines your claim, it can hurt your chances of recovering full and fair compensation. For example, you might say something that contradicts or calls into question the facts of the case.
- Comments your Friends or Witnesses Make about the Accident: If you have any social media connections who were involved in the accident or were witnesses to it, they may also say something speculative that undermines your claim.
- Comments and Updates you Post about your Injuries and Medical Condition: As we touched on earlier, you may have the urge to tell your social media connections how you are doing and how your recovery is going. This is not a good idea. There is an ebb and flow when someone is recovering from an injury; some days, you feel stronger, other days, things seem to be going back in the opposite direction. Posting frequent updates about how you are “feeling” can weaken your claim and cause the other side to dispute your injury claim.
- Arguments or Replies about Your Case: If your accident was reported in the local media, there may be people who are commenting on it and speculating about what happened. It is tempting to argue with commenters and try to “set the record straight”, but this is also a very bad idea. Anything you say on a public news site can be twisted by the other side in a way that weakens your case.
- Status Updates: You may think status updates about fun events and activities you are participating in are harmless and have nothing to do with your legal claim. Think again. If you are shown swimming at the beach or riding around on a jet ski, for example, the other side may question how injured you really are.
Assume the Other Side is Watching your Social Media Activity
You may be thinking, “this is all well and good, but I have already adjusted my privacy and security settings so only my closest friends can see my posts, so none of this applies to me.” Unfortunately, this is not the case.
If you are not already aware of this, under the law, you have no right to privacy on social media. Social media postings are considered to be public statements, and this information is not protected in any way from being used in a legal case.
While it may be more difficult for insurance adjusters, opposing attorneys, and other “interested parties” to find your social media posts if you have strict privacy settings, it is not impossible.
The other side knows that social media has the potential to provide a treasure trove of useful information, and they have the resources and the know-how to uncover this information. For this reason, you should always assume that anything you post on social media will be seen by the other side, and act accordingly.
Acting accordingly generally means staying away from social media as much as possible while your case is ongoing. If you do not believe you can totally stay away from social media, try to limit your activity to just liking other people’s posts that are not related to your accident. Also, avoid any of the following under any circumstances:
- Posting photos or videos of the accident scene;
- Admitting fault, expressing regret, or apologizing for the accident;
- Commenting in any way about the accident;
- Arguing or responding to other people’s comments about the accident;
- Accepting any new friend requests or follows (this could be an interested party trying to gain information).
One final point that is worth noting, do not assume that your emails, text messages, or other electronic messages are safe. While these forms of communication are more protected than social media posts, they can still be accessed in some cases if the other side goes through the proper legal channels. So, be careful what you say through any form of digital communication, and do not say anything that will be damaging to your case.
Injured in an Accident in Connecticut? Speak with an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Right Away
If you or someone close to has suffered injury because of the negligence of another party, there are many potential pitfalls that can diminish the value of your claim or cause you to forfeit your right to compensation altogether. And this is even more true in today’s electronic age. The best way to protect yourself is to retain the services of an experienced attorney as soon as possible after the accident.
At the Apex Law Firm, we have over 50 years of experience successfully representing clients who have suffered all types of personal injuries in Connecticut.
We work closely with our clients, and we provide strong legal guidance and moral support to help ensure that they are in the best possible position to obtain a favorable outcome in their case.
Call our office today at (860) 900-0900 for a free consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys. You may also visit us at uptonlegal.com and message us through our online contact form or stop by our Hartford County office in person at your convenience.
Whatever your battle, The APEX Law Firm will fight for you!