Can Social Media Hurt My Personal Injury Case?
The use of social media is very ubiquitous in today’s society. In fact, you – and nearly everyone you know – likely uses Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or another social media site to inform their followers/friends/family of their daily activities. Even the President of the United States uses Twitter on a daily basis! For many, social media has become an integral part of their every day, much like brushing their teeth or eating their dinner.
But when you are injured and in the midst of filing your personal injury claim, the use of social media can be a risky proposition. In fact, social media can actually hurt your personal injury case and may affect your ability to recover your maximum compensation amount.
Can Evidence on Social Media Be Used Against Me?
Yes – evidence on social media can absolutely be used against you! This is because evidence that is on the internet is public, and therefore can be submitted to an insurance adjuster, or admitted in a court of law, in the same manner as all other types of evidence. The only type of evidence on social media not admissible is information that is illegally obtained. For example, if you had private messages that were sent through your Facebook account that were only accessible because the defense hacked your account, these messages could not be used as evidence against you.
Ploys that are legal include, an insurance adjuster that tries to add you as a friend or follow you on social media in order to gain more information about your life and your activities or an investigator connects with you to confirm that you are not as injured as you claimed. ANY information that is public can be acquired and used against you.
What Types of Social Media Activities Could Hurt My Claim?
Even things that you think seem relatively harmless and innocent – such as a picture of you smiling while holding your child – could damage your claim. This is because when you are filing a personal injury claim, you are typically seeking damages for things like:
• Lost wages;
• Medical expenses;
• Pain and suffering; and
• Loss of enjoyment of life.
Any pictures, status updates, location check-ins, videos, and the like may imply a number of things that may hurt your claim. Consider the following:
If you post a picture of yourself looking happy while holding your child, this photo may imply that a) you are not disabled, b) you have not suffered loss of enjoyment of life, and c) you are not experiencing pain and anguish like you claim.
If you post a location check-in of yourself at the beach or on the lake, this could imply the same – you’re not really injured and haven’t suffered medical expenses, your quality of life hasn’t been impaired, and you’re clearly not disabled since you’re out and about.
If you post a status update letting others who care about you know that you’re recovering well and feeling positive, an insurance adjuster may use this to discredit your claim and deny you your full settlement.
How to Safely Use Social Media after a Personal Injury
If you are injured and are pursuing a personal injury claim, the best way to approach social media is to not use it at all. If you don’t have the willpower, consider suspending your accounts during the claim process. If you can’t bring yourself to step away from your online presence, at least set your accounts to private and do not add any friends or followers you do not know. Be very careful what you post, and keep the above examples in mind. Do not post anything about your accident.
Our Attorneys Are Here to Guide You
When you are injured in Dothan or surrounding areas, there are a number of things to think about during the claims process. In addition to how you’ll manage your social media accounts, you also need to consider the statute of limitations for filing your claim, what your claim is worth, how to gather evidence, and how to prove negligence. At the law offices of Cobb, Boyd, White & Cobb Attorneys at Law, our experienced and aggressive Alabama personal injury lawyers are here to guide you through everything you need to know. Please call us today at (334) 677-1000 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation and get started on the road to recovery.