How Social Media Can Destroy Your Personal Injury Lawsuit May 19, 2017.
About eight out of every 10 people in the U.S. use some type of social media, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest. By the end of 2016, Facebook alone had nearly 2 billion active monthly users worldwide and Twitter logs about 328 million users each month. That’s a lot of people ready and waiting to hang on your every word. For keeping up with friends and family, you couldn’t ask for a better solution, especially if your loved ones are spread across states, countries, or even continents.
Of course, there is such a thing as too much sharing, and what you share could have a significant — and negative — impact on your life. For instance, data from law enforcement agencies show criminals often use social media to keep track of unsuspecting victims’ vacation plans, looking for posts about upcoming or ongoing trips to discern when homes will be empty. Employers also routinely take advantage of social sharing by checking out job candidates’ online personas to help determine which candidates may not be the best choice for open positions.
And now, it seems sharing too much about an accident could wind up costing you big when it comes to a personal injury lawsuit.
The Price of Social Sharing
Sure, sharing details about your accident and your injuries can be helpful in keeping friends and relatives up to date, but they’re not the only ones interested in your health and welfare. Insurance companies also frequently take to the Internet to see what you’re posting in the hopes they can refute your claim and deny compensation.
This means you need to be very careful when posting on any social platform after an accident to prevent unwittingly damaging your case. Ideally, you won’t share any information about your accident, your injuries, or your case at all on social media sites.
But what if you just can’t help yourself? How much can you share? Here are a few quick guidelines:
- Don’t be emotional. Make your posts concise and factual, providing clear, brief updates that can’t be misconstrued or taken out of context.
- Don’t post any pictures of your injuries, your vehicle, or other property.
- Don’t post any information about your doctor visits or medical care.
- Don’t say anything that could be taken as an admission of fault or responsibility. Saying something like, "I noticed a couple weeks ago my brakes were a little soft" could cause you to have your claim devalued or denied outright.
- Don’t discuss the progress of your personal injury lawsuit.
- Don’t post anything in chat groups or public forums.
- Avoid posting about physical activities. A day doing a little gardening in your yard could be seen as evidence of having no or few injuries, even if the activity is relatively strain-free and approved by your doctor.
Remember that anything you say on social media may be able to be used by the other side’s insurance company or their attorneys. Make sure you aren’t giving them any ammunition to use against you.
Follow Your Attorney’s Advice
In a personal injury lawsuit, your lawyer is more than your legal representative. He or she is also a valuable source of information and guidance to help you get through this stressful time of your life. Once you file a personal injury claim, follow your lawyer’s advice about social media sharing, doctor’s visits, and any other recommendations that can help you protect your rights and present the best possible case.
If you’ve suffered a personal injury and you want to learn more about getting the compensation you deserve for your injuries, contact The Mellino Law Firm at (440) 333-3800 to schedule your no-cost, no-obligation consultation today.