The Impact of Social Media on Personal Injury Claims
This is no exaggeration: it takes just one post, photo, or comment potentially to derail your personal injury case. With social media becoming increasingly widespread comes the possibility that it will impact every part of life—including the social media process, bringing the possibility of having serious ramifications in your social media claim.
There are many ways that social media evidence can be used in a personal injury case, sometimes being introduced in court, so that the jury or judge can consider it in their deliberations about your case.
A social media post, photograph, message, or statement may be admissible in court, allowing the judge or jury to weigh its importance while they are deciding the outcome of your claim. Social media can also derail confidentiality in your case, suggest fault or liability on your side, or even result in a reduction of the compensation you could recover.
Consider the following examples:
- A photo that shows you engaging in strenuous physical activities can undermine an argument regarding the personal injuries you have suffered and damages you are seeking, potentially reducing your compensation
- A post about something that should have been kept confidential in your case can derail your attorney’s work to keep information confidential, as appropriate
- A statement you make on social media — in some cases, even if it is made in a message you thought to be private — may be introduced as evidence in court, particularly if the statement contradicts your testimony at your trial
- You, or even your friends, may inadvertently post something on social media that could be interpreted or misconstrued as an admission of fault or liability, even if it’s something seemingly innocent, like a friend admonishing you to slow down while driving
An article in the Dallas Morning News discusses in detail the ways that social media can affect your personal injury case. “Many personal injury cases are difficult enough to handle without providing the defense counsel additional ammunition in settlement negotiations,” the article warns. “The safe route to take in the course of a personal injury case is to limit your social media presence until it is completely and fully resolved.”
While your personal injury claim is pending — whether in court or during settlement negotiations — you should take extra care regarding your social media presence and activities, in order to protect your legal rights and avoid potential issues. These steps include:
- Do not post anything about your case, your injuries, your conduct during or after the accident, or the other party. It is imperative that you keep details about your case to yourself; otherwise, you risk the release of confidential information. Never post anything that could possibly implicate you as being at fault or liable, and never discuss anything about either side’s arguments, claims, defenses, or damages.
- Ensure your social media accounts are set to private access only. While nothing is truly confidential when shared on social media, it is a good idea to mitigate the likelihood of an embarrassing leak of information by making your posts private.
- Be careful about whom you add as a friend or contact, particularly if you don’t know them personally. There are examples of cases where the opposing side—or their insurance company — befriended a party, in hopes of finding out information that would bolster their case.
- Make sure you have nothing to hide on your social media accounts. In general, it’s good to keep in mind that you should not post anything on social media that you wouldn’t want to have introduced against you in court—whether that be details about your claims or damages, or something that could be construed as pinning fault for the accident on you. Post and message as if you would expect your words to be brought up in court or at a deposition.
If you have been a victim of another party’s negligence or other wrongdoing, under personal injury law, you may be entitled to compensation for the injuries you have suffered—and, having a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer by your side can make all the difference. Our experienced personal injury lawyers will inform you of your legal rights and options, and we will work with you to make sure you receive the medical care you need. If the insurance company refuses to offer full value in settlement, our trial-tested Texas personal injury lawyers are always ready to take them to court. Please reach out to us today for a free, no-obligation initial legal consultation online or by calling 817-617-8639. With our office in Southlake, we serve communities throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth area, Tarrant County and Dallas County, and other counties of Texas.