How Can Social Media Affect Your Personal Injury Case?
After you’ve been hurt in an accident or harmed by someone else’s negligence, it may seem like second nature to post your status on social media, complete with photos and details.
Not so fast. Explore the pitfalls first. Seek the insights of a skilled personal injury law firm, Tomeny | Best Injury Lawyers in Baton Rouge. With more than 30 years of experience, we offer a breadth of expertise in helping people like you pursue the compensation you deserve.
Are Insurance Companies Really Looking at My Social Media Posts?
Everyone you know these days is on social media, right? So are savvy insurance adjusters and claims investigators who are looking for ways to reduce a payout to compensate you for your injuries – or avoid one altogether.
They know that people often reveal a lot about themselves online. Unfortunately, the impact of social media on a personal injury claim can be very negative. Things you say online may be taken out of context, twisted, and used against you. Even your friends’ sympathetic posts may undermine your claim.
No matter how you configure your privacy settings, insurance adjusters can find ways to see your account. Their goal is to use it against you. Your posts may unintentionally wreck your claim.
Why Social Media Is Admissible in Court
Your injury claim may not be resolved at the negotiating table. Your attorney may need to file a lawsuit on your behalf and even take it to trial.
How the court views social media is evolving. Furthermore, it’s not consistent from one state to another. In Louisiana, to be admissible in court, social media messages, posts, and photos must be properly authenticated. This may mean having your friends testify that the information is in fact authentic.
Although information posted on social media may be considered hearsay, statements that are introduced to show that a conversation took place are admissible. They can be admissible when used appropriately. How they are introduced as evidence and what they are used to support are key.
Social Media Posts May Contradict Your Testimony
Sometimes social media users can inadvertently post something that comes back to hurt them later. This is especially true for injury victims who also use social media. An experienced personal injury attorney would likely advise you to exercise extreme caution when posting to social media while pursuing an injury case.
If you say something on social media that works against your case, it can hurt your chances of recovery. You might say something that calls the facts of the case into doubt. You might say something that makes you look bad.
You may end up saying something on social media that contradicts what you’re claiming in the case. If you do, the defense is going to challenge your injuries. When you have an injury claim, you must always be completely honest about your injuries and losses. Contradictory social media posts can hurt your case.
Photos and Statements Could Be Taken Out of Context
Social media posts can inadvertently show the insurance adjuster what you’re physically capable of doing after your injury. Photos can be the most damaging. If you post a photo of your children on hike, the adjuster or the defense attorney might ask who shot it. If the answer is you, you’ll be giving them proof that you were able to go for a hike.
What you post can call your case into question in ways you may not be able to predict, much less control. Even check-ins on Facebook, Foursquare, Snapchat, and other sites could show that you’re participating in activities that contradict the injuries you’re claiming.
Beware of Comments from Family and Friends
Even social media comments from well-meaning people in your life may backfire. They might contradict your claims about your injuries. They might make statements about how much money you expect to get paid for your losses. Comments like these can hurt your case and paint you in a negative light.
How Can I Protect Myself on Social Media During a Personal Injury Case?
Social media is a time bomb when you are in the midst of a personal injury claim. Be guarded about what you post on your page, comments you make on your friends’ pages, and even how you post on Venmo, the app that lets you quickly pay friends.
Depending on the circumstances, your personal injury lawyer may advise against posting as long as your case is in litigation.
At a minimum, follow these suggestions to protect your personal injury case:
- Never discuss your case or your injuries online.
- While your claim is pending, limit your use of social media. Avoid it entirely if possible.
- Think carefully before posting pictures, videos, or check-ins.
- Switching your profile from “public” to “friends only” may not protect you. The defense may know some of your friends and ask them for information. The defense can also file a demand for the production of documents, including copies of your social media pages, even if your account is private.
Get Help from a Baton Rouge Personal Injury Lawyer Now
Avoid social media gaffes that could compromise your ability to recover the compensation you need to get back to your life. Instead, do everything you can to make your case as simple and successful as possible.
It all starts with choosing the right Baton Rouge personal injury firm, Tomeny | Best Injury Lawyers. We can help build, file and present your case in the most favorable light. You’ll have confidence knowing we’ll provide experienced guidance every step along the way.
Our founding partner, Frank Tomeny III, worked early in his career defending insurance companies against personal injury claims, giving him an insider’s perspective. Before joining the firm, James J. Best served as a state judge, presiding over countless trials. Our team’s well-rounded legal experience empowers us to fight for you with the defense and judicial perspectives in mind.
Call now for your free initial consultation.