Social Media Rules If You Have a Personal Injury Claim
Social media allows us to keep in touch with family and friends and share about our lives. But if you are injured in an accident, what you post on social media can affect your personal injury case.
Insurance companies and defense attorneys regularly look for social media posts that can be used against injured plaintiffs.
In this article, we outline social media best practices for individuals or families who have filed a personal injury claim against another individual or organization.
Information Insurance Companies Can Find On Social Media
Insurance companies and defense attorneys are looking for anything they can use to deny your claim or minimize your compensation.
The type of content that insurance adjusters will examine if they can:
- Public Information
- Timeline posts
- Location Check-ins
- Friends and Family
Don’t Post Anything About Your Case or Your Injuries
First and foremost, it is incredibly important not to post anything related to your case or your injuries on social media.
Insurance companies and defense attorneys will try to use statements on social media to shift blame, even if you were not at fault. For example, if you make a post saying “I crashed my car,” an insurance adjuster may treat your words as an admission of fault.
Contributory negligence laws in Alabama can prevent an injured person from recovering anything if they were in any way at fault for the accident.
The insurance company or defense will also look for any social media updates that contradict your account of what happened, and may try to use what you post to claim you are faking or exaggerating your injuries.
The best approach is to stay off social media while your case is pending if possible. The following can be especially damaging to your case:
- Photos of the accident
- Photos of your injuries
- Information about your case or attorney
- Updates on your medical condition or treatment
- Arguments or replies about your case
Don’t Post About Your Wellbeing or Physical Activities
While your friends and family will want to know if you are doing alright, any updates about your injuries and treatment can harm your case. This includes even simply telling others that you are alright after an accident. Don’t post anything about pre-existing conditions, illnesses, or physical injuries unrelated to your accident either.
Remember that your attorney’s job is to prove the damages you suffered as a result of your personal injury. This can include pain and suffering, emotional distress as well as medical bills, and lost wages. Insurance companies and defense attorneys will look for anything they can use to deny your claim or minimize your compensation.
You should also avoid posting photos of yourself, especially photos that show you enjoying physical activities like dancing or walking around an amusement park. The defense can use these photos to imply your injuries were not serious, thereby jeopardizing your case.
Set Your Social Media to Private, But Still Use Caution
You should set your social media accounts to private to prevent outside parties from being able to easily access everything you post online. The defense can file a demand for the production of your social media pages, even if your account is private. You should consider deactivating your accounts until your case is resolved.
Friends’ and Family Members’ Social Media Is Important
Insurance companies often monitor the social media of victims’ friends and families. What your friends and family post or tag you in on their social media can impact your case. You should ask them not to tag you in any posts and to refrain from posting anything related to your case.
One man lost an $80,000 settlement because of what his daughter wrote on Facebook.
Don’t respond to messages or accept friend or connection requests from people you don’t know well, and tell your friends and family to do the same.
Don’t Delete Anything Without Speaking to An Attorney
Deleting posts from social media can constitute destruction of evidence. Even if content is potentially harmful to your case, don’t delete it before talking with your personal injury attorney.
Contact Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton Today
If you were injured due to someone’s negligence and have questions about safe social media use, or are concerned your social media accounts may hurt your insurance claim, contact Hare Wynn. Our firm has been litigating personal injury cases for more than 130 years, and our team has recovered more than $2 Billion on behalf of clients.