Social media has become a primary way of communicating for a good part of the population. It is enjoyable to share happy events and pictures of your children, garden, or vacation. However, due to the permanent nature of social media, people should remember that anything they post will never truly go away.
Social media is easily searchable and almost always discoverable. That is why anyone involved in a car accident claim or other legal issue needs to be careful about what they post on social media. Anything you share on social media can be used against you in a legal claim. A picture of you on a ladder cleaning the gutters when you are supposedly temporarily disabled from a car accident will not bode well for your claim. It is also important to remember that social media posts can easily be misinterpreted.
Listed below are essential social media tips to remember when you are involved in a legal claim for a car accident or any other issue.
Limit Posting on Social Media
While your claim is pending, limit your use of social media. In fact, avoid social media altogether if possible. At the very least, look, but do not comment. That includes commenting on someone else’s page as well. Anything on social media is findable and usable. Insurance claims adjusters, opposing legal counsel, and others will be looking for anything to use against you.
If avoiding social media is not doable for you, think very carefully about the type of pictures, videos, or check-ins you want to post. Certain activities or locations could affect a legal claim. For example, it is not advisable to check-in to a waterpark if you claim you have severe back injuries that were caused by a car accident.
Do Not Comment on the Case
Never comment on the case, the accident, or anything else related to the legal claim, either online or offline. Bad-mouthing the other party, detailing your injuries, discussing the costs you are accumulating, or even apologizing for the car accident can be used against you. Do not even share details or thoughts with family members.
Additionally, do not talk about your lawyer either online or offline. Doing so may void the lawyer-client privilege. If you have a concern, problem, or question, talk to your lawyer directly.
Avoid Sharing Information About Your Injuries
Do not share information about your injuries. Compensation amounts are based partially on the extent of the injuries and future medical care. While friends and family members are rightfully concerned, posting details about injuries is not advised.
Also, ask family and friends not to mention you in social media posts. Make sure they understand why they cannot share information about your case. Social media spreads quickly to strangers and the general public, so it is important to avoid being in any kind of post.
Adjust Privacy Settings
You should make sure to adjust your privacy settings right away. In a court case, the opposing parties will look high and low for any possible mention of you. Set your social media to private or the most restrictive privacy setting possible to prevent outsiders from accessing your accounts.
Additionally, you should screen new friend and follower requests. Keep a sharp eye on those requesting to be your friend or who begins to follow your accounts. They may be trying to access your social media account or posts. It is best to ignore new requests while a legal case is pending.
How can Social Media Affect My Legal Claim?
After a car accident, many people become involved, such as first responders, medical providers, insurers, and legal representatives. In addition, there may be several negligent parties. A car’s manufacturer may have made or assembled a part incorrectly, causing the brakes to fail, or a municipality may have not patched a pothole in a reasonable time frame.
Since there are many parties involved in a car accident case, you will have people working for and against you. The person responsible for the accident has an insurance company full of people working to minimize how much they might have to pay. If the case goes to court, the defendant’s legal team will scrutinize everything in hopes of finding evidence to hold against you. For example:
- Social media updates may show that your injuries are not nearly as severe as what you are claiming. For instance, there could be a significant problem if you show yourself skiing while claiming you have a leg injury from the accident.
- Posts about the expenses you are paying after an accident may negatively impact the amount of damages you are awarded.
- Social media pictures or videos may show that you are not severely injured.
- Comments on the case itself may directly or indirectly contradict your own testimony.
- Posts about you and the accident made by friends and family may contradict your claims, lessen your credibility, and negate the amount of compensation you are seeking.
- Comments about the progress of your case or where you intend to take the claim can be used against you by insurance claims adjusters or the defendant’s lawyer. Do not let them know your intentions or anything else.
How can I Strengthen My Claim?
In addition to eliminating social media, these tips can help you and your lawyer build a strong personal injury claim:
- Seek immediate medical attention. Even if you feel you are not seriously injured, always get medical attention after an accident. Sometimes, serious conditions, such as brain injuries or internal injuries, take time to appear. If you experience any new symptoms, even days or months after an accident, see your primary doctor as well.
- Follow all medical orders. If a doctor or other medical provider instructs you to get specific tests, undergo therapy, or stay at home and rest, follow all of their orders. Do not give the opposition a chance to nullify your claim by not following medical advice that helps you heal.
- Track all of your expenses. If you are not able to record your expenses, have a loved one set up a file that tracks all of your appointments, phone conversations, invoices, payments, insurance coverage, and anything else related to the accident.
- Keep a journal. If you are able, keep a personal journal about the accident, injuries, and your recovery. Writing things down when they are fresh in your mind can be invaluable later.
- Do not talk to anyone about the accident. An insurance company representative may try to get you to say something to reduce their liability or the credibility of your claim. However, you should not talk to anyone about the accident. Refer all information requests to your lawyer.
Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyers at Anchor Legal Group, PLLC Help Clients Avoid Legal Issues in Personal Injury Claims
Social media has become a normal part of life for many people, however, it is important to be careful about what you post. If you were recently involved in a car accident, you should avoid posting about it online. If you were injured by a negligent driver and need help with your case, speak to one of our Virginia Beach car accident lawyers at Anchor Legal Group, PLLC. Contact us online or call us at 757-LAW-0000 today to arrange a free consultation. Located in Virginia Beach, we represent clients throughout Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, Hampton, and Eastern Shore, Virginia. We also serve our clients throughout the United States through our network of associated attorneys.