We see it all the time as we open Facebook, “What’s On Your Mind?” the app asks. It’s best to hold back, though. Most of the time, it’s best to avoid sharing what’s on our mind every time we see the prompt on any social media platform. This is especially true if you’re a plaintiff in a personal injury case. While some people limit access to their social media posts to a select group of friends and family, this is not always the case.
For the majority of users, public posts and friend lists in the hundreds are the norm. People don’t typically think that strangers are watching their every post with bated breath. However, we are not talking about your run-of-the-mill stalker scenario here. In your case, the stranger watching your posts could be doing so on behalf of a defendant if you’ve filed a personal injury suit.
What Social Media Has To Do With Your Personal Injury Case
Keep in mind that most personal injury cases move rapidly into the “discovery” phase. Discovery is intended to help defendants, insurance companies, and their defense attorneys understand the case and identify facts that could damage your claim. In an ideal environment, an insurance defense lawyer would be able to undertake surveillance 24 hours a day, but this is both expensive and impractical. Unfortunately, many personal injury victims make it easy for the defense lawyer by putting their whole lives online.
1. Posting About the Accident Itself
Social media posts concerning the accident should be avoided. Your own remarks regarding the accident is the most obvious evidence that could be used against you in court. Your explanations and depictions of the event and what happened thereafter may contradict your testimony, undermining your credibility. Even if friends ask you direct questions, don’t post anything about the accident, your personal injury, the persons involved, or even how you’re feeling.
2. Posting Photos in General
Photos are frequently used in court to illustrate a point, especially when they contradict an personal injury victim’s allegation. A photo of you on social media having fun with your friends at any point after the accident may cause the court to doubt the seriousness of your injuries. Even if you were in pain or not feeling your best when the photo was being taken, images of you on a road trip, out to dinner, or even smiling can be used to prove that your injuries aren’t what you claim.
3. Posting by Your Friends and Family
Even if you avoid posting on social media, there is no telling when your friends or family may post something that hurts your case. A supportive friend—even with the best intentions in mind– may write about the accident, may misinterpret facts, or say something that otherwise harms your personal injury case. It’s important to make it clear to your family and friends that—while you appreciate their support—you require privacy at this point in time. There could also be someone browsing your profile who you don’t know but have accepted as a friend. You should avoid conversations and groups with strangers, and you should avoid sending or accepting friend requests until your personal injury case is resolved.
4. Taking The “Private” Setting for Granted
It’s reasonable to think that we have complete privacy when we switch our social media settings from “public” to “private” on social media. We frequently expect that we will have complete privacy in our private social media account. That, however, is not the case. In the perspective of the public and the law, online platforms are being closely scrutinized. While the connection of social media has benefited many sectors, it can be disastrous for a personal injury plaintiff, defendant, and even legal practitioners.
Of course, deactivating your social media accounts or taking a break from posting are preferable to adjusting your privacy settings and continuing to post regularly. Private investigators and other parties working for the defendant have learned how to work around privacy settings. Indeed, an attorney may be able to subpoena your social media records in some situations. This means a court can order access to your social media accounts, regardless of your privacy settings. A subpoena may also have the authority to access previously deleted posts and private chats.
Personal Injury Lawyer in Arizona
Personal injury cases commonly arise out of accidents such as car crashes, motorcycle accidents, trucking accidents, slip and falls, nursing home abuse, and medical malpractice. For help navigating the legal system after being injured, call Garrison Law Firm. We proudly serve Surprise, Peoria, Glendale, Avondale, Wickenburg, Buckeye, Phoenix and the surrounding areas. One of the most important first steps towards healing involves getting the support you need. Contact Garrison Law Firm immediately to arrange for a free case review with one of our pedestrian accident attorneys.