ocial media is a routine part of most people’s lives and many people post without thinking about it much. Unfortunately, even the most seemingly mundane post can cost a personal injury victim dearly. Attorneys often scour the web for any posts that indicate the plaintiff is able to do things they shouldn’t be able to or posts that conflict with their official statement. Below are some dos and don’ts for navigating social media during a case.
- Protect Your Privacy: Safeguarding privacy is important—especially for someone who is in the middle of a personal injury case. Insurance companies often scroll through social media to gather evidence, and they could potentially twist everyday pictures and videos to cast doubt on the severity of the victim’s injuries. Innocent posts could be misconstrued, so exercise caution when sharing on social media. An attorney can provide guidance on what’s safe to share.
- Be Consistent: Ensure that legal statements and social media activity match up. Posts that contradict the claimed injuries can damage the plaintiff’s credibility. Consistency helps support strong representation from an attorney and increases the chances of receiving fair compensation.
- Post Mindfully: Be mindful of online posts, as the defense can use seemingly harmless content in court. It is crucial to follow all of the doctor’s advice and be honest with the attorney about the extent of the injuries.
- Adjust All Privacy Settings: It’s not uncommon for an insurance company or defense attorney to use surveillance tactics. Restrict access to social media profiles by adjusting privacy settings, especially while the attorney is handling the claim.
- Contradictory Statements: Avoid sharing content that contradicts the claimed injuries. Posting about activities that don’t align with the victim’s physical limitations could cast doubt on the extent of the injuries. Defense attorneys could use those posts to downplay the severity of the case, which could impact compensation.
- Overshare: Most of us know someone who posts TMI (Too Much Information) online. Don’t be that person. Not only is it cringe-worthy, it could hurt the case and lessen the overall value of the claim.
- Underestimate Deleted Content: As the saying goes: The internet is forever. Though they can be harder to find, deleted posts can still be retrieved and used as evidence in court. Even if a post is deleted or a picture is taken down, metadata such as publication dates and times can be recovered. Tell the attorney about deleted content so they can offer the best legal advice.
While it is common for social media content to impact personal injury cases, there are several ways for a plaintiff to protect themself. Be mindful of posts that may contradict the claim or the person’s original statement. Even deleted content can hurt the case. There are many things to consider when posting during an injury case. For some, the easiest thing may be to temporarily deactivate their social media accounts or refrain from posting for a while.