Personal Injury Attorney Says It’s Best to Stay Away
In the past decade, we have witnessed the birth of several social media websites and platforms. From Twitter to Facebook to Instagram, it is now easier than it has ever been to connect with the rest of the world. The rise in social media platforms, in turn, creates an increase in free and readily available data. A particular group of people that need to be very careful regarding the information they are posting on social media sites are personal injury claimants.
Insurance companies, defense attorneys, and investigators frequently keep track of social media accounts with the aim of humiliating and embarrassing claimants, and claiming that an incurred injury was falsified or exaggerated. Insurance companies have been successful in using this kind of information to get the jury to believe that the claimant was being dishonest. For instance, if you are claiming to have back pains from a car crash, a posted video or picture of you doing cartwheels might totally discredit your claim. It is, therefore, very important to be cautious of what you are posting on your social media account, be it Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or even YouTube, even if you feel you have the most protected privacy settings. Do not make posts that will only make it harder for your personal injury attorney to present a strong case on your behalf.
Below are few practical social media do’s and don’ts for personal injury claimants:
- Only accept friend requests from people you really know. You should be careful about who you add to your list of friends.
- “Untag” yourself from photos posted on social media sites.
- Check your privacy settings one more time. Do not be naïve and trust that anything you post on the internet is truly private. Just remember that one of the most lucrative “industries” today is computer hacking. However, if you feel you have to post, just make sure that your privacy settings are at the highest possible levels.
- Be very careful about anything you post. Assume that anything you post will be seen by defense lawyers and judges.
- You can make yourself “invisible” from social media sites. Review all of your social media account settings to find out if an “invisibility” option exists. Additionally, remove yourself from Google searches by unchecking the Public Search Listing box in the privacy settings.
- Remind your friends in social media not to post any photos, messages, or videos of you. Do not allow your friends to post anything that they would not say to the defense attorney or even want them to see.
- While your case is still in progress, you can consider taking down your social media accounts altogether.
- Do not over-share information. Your case is only between you and your personal injury attorney. Any information that you share with the defense counsel, insurance adjusters, or even friends can be used in discrediting your claim.
- Do not post anything about your case on social media sites. Whereas it is understandable to get angry after an accident, any posted information can be used against you.
- Do not assume that your accounts are off limits just because they are private. Defense attorneys and insurance companies could request a judge to allow them access to your accounts.
A strong case can be discredited or devalued just by the misuse of a social media platform. In case you decide to continue with the use of social media, be aware that any information posted on the site can be used to ruin your claim. Be very careful of the connections you make on social media particularly in the course of your case. We advise that all injured individuals seeking compensation from insurance companies to discontinue use of social media sites when their case is still in progress.
Last Updated: 03-24-2017