A grocery store fails to keep its floors dry and you slip on a puddle and break your hip. A parking garage does not replace burned out light bulbs and you are attacked in a dark stairwell. A drunk driver runs a red light and hits you head-on.
These are examples of personal injury claims with clear liability. However, even if your case is similar to one of these, you can be sure that the lawyer or insurance company for the liable party will go to great lengths to show that you don’t deserve the money you are demanding in a personal injury claim. Especially in cases where liability is not in question, they will try to show that you have not suffered the injuries you claim to have suffered. They will do this by prying into your personal life. An easy way for them to do this is to monitor your social media accounts. That is why we always advise clients to stay away from posting, sharing, and liking until their personal injury claim is settled.
What Your Social Media Activity Says About You
You might think your Tweets and Facebook posts are harmless, but an investigator for an insurance company might see more in them than you intend. When you are pursuing a personal injury claim, you should be aware of the following:
- Investigators will look for any evidence of you participating in the physical activities you claim you are unable to do. A Tweet about mowing the lawn, being tagged in someone else’s Facebook post about a trip to the bowling alley, or an Instagram picture of you lifting your child could provide the evidence they are looking for.
- A lot of social media activity—liking posts, sharing recipes, re-Tweeting funny videos, etc.—may be interpreted as signs that you are happy and healthy. If you are making a claim for pain and suffering damages because of the emotional trauma you have experienced, your social media activity could convince a judge that you are not actually suffering.
- Venting about the accident or posting negative comments about the defendant on social media could backfire on you. One way lawyers seek to discredit plaintiffs in personal injury cases is by portraying them as vindictive and only out for money. If your social media posts attack the defendant, you could play right into their hands.
- Sharing details of your accident could come back to haunt you. The lawyer for the at-fault party will pick your case apart to look for inconsistencies. If you post a description of how the accident happened and it differs in the smallest way from other statements you make, he can use that against you. The same goes for your injuries.
You should always assume that anything you post on social media is available to the public. No matter what you think your privacy settings are, your posts could be discovered by the defendant’s attorney.
So, What Should You Do?
It’s simple—from the day of your accident through the conclusion of your case, STAY OFF SOCIAL MEDIA. Remember the days before Facebook? You need to go back to those days for the duration of your case. Trust us, it can save you a lot of trouble in the long run.