It’s hard to argue that in the modern United States, nearly every part of the average person’s life is touched by social media in some way. Social media is how we stay in touch with friends, research a new hobby or interest, and it’s frequently the primary way we hear important public and personal news.
Given how necessary and integrated it is in modern life, it’s only natural that, following some major event or change, we go straight to social media to seek comfort and advice from our friends, family, and communities.
However, this very human instinct is generally not the correct choice when one is actively involved in a personal injury legal case. When it comes to social media, even carefully made posts with the best intentions can become powerful ammunition for the defense’s legal team to undermine your case. This article will outline the potential harms and best practices of social media while involved in personal injury litigation.
Potential Risks of Social Media for Your Case
In short, careless usage of social media during a court proceeding can, at best, cause avoidable problems and, at worst, completely undermine your entire claim. Here are some of the specific ways social media can hurt a case.
Taking Information Out of Context
Following accident, the at fault driver’s insurance company is going to do everything they can to twist your words and take take them out of context in an attempt to prove that they are not financially responsible. When you send emails, make comments, or post things on social media regarding what occurred during the crash or how you were injured, you are giving the insurance companies ammunition to take your words out of context and use them against you.
Disproving the Severity of Your Injury
Central to any personal injury case are two claims: one, that the accident or injury in question was probably someone else’s fault, and two, that the incident has caused you demonstrable suffering, loss of income, or financial burden. The defense can use any post or photo indicating that you are healthy, mobile, or active to argue that your suffering is imagined and being used to falsely claim money.
The seriousness and potential risk of this situation is dependent on the exact nature of the injury. If you claim that your injury has made it impossible or very difficult to perform day-to-day functions, a photo of you doing any activity other than lying in bed can undermine your whole case.
Injury victims that post comments or photographs on social media that insinuate that they are performing certain activities, will have those posts used against them in their personal injury case. Insurance companies will point to the social media posts as evidence that the injury victim is not as severely injured as they are claiming in their case.
Tips for Smart Social Media Usage
If there’s one moral to be taken from this article, it’s that the best social media tip for anyone involved in personal injury litigation is: “Don’t do it!” While it’s probably possible to make a social media post that doesn’t hurt your case, it’s simply too easy to make a mistake that causes serious or even catastrophic damage.
If you feel you must use social media in these circumstances, here are some tips to minimize the risk of posting.
Strict Privacy Settings
Ensure that your whole account and any posts you write are set to have the strictest possible privacy settings. This allows you to keep some control over who can see what you post.
Ultimately you should remember that essentially anything posted to the internet can be found by someone willing to really look for it. Having strict privacy settings will at least provide some extra hurdles for protecting your information.
Be Wary of Internet Strangers
As long as you are involved in any kind of litigation, you should be extremely wary of new people sending friend requests, follows, comments on posts, or direct messages. While it’s possible they’re just a stranger interested in your story, it’s a fact that legal teams will try to use fake accounts to gather information about opposing clients.
Turn to Pullano & Siporin for Exceptional Legal Representation
What you share on social media can significantly impact the outcome of your personal injury case. Perhaps the best advice for using social media while in litigation is to talk to your lawyer!
At Pullano & Siporin Law, our combined experience of over half a century has taught us all the ins and outs of modern personal injury law, and we’re here to help you with your claim. Our experienced attorneys can help you navigate the legal system and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Contact us today for a consultation.