How can Posting on Social Media Hurt my Personal Injury Case?
These days, there are endless ways to share your life with others. Some make sure to update Instagram daily, others chime in via Twitter or Facebook. But while social media can be a major connecting force in life, it can also have its drawbacks in court.
All that information can show more than you intend and could be used in ways you may not expect if you’re in the middle of a personal injury lawsuit. For instance, if you post about how much fun it was to go rock climbing with your kids after you claimed a dislocated shoulder during a car accident, the other party’s lawyers have the ability to use that against you. Privacy settings don’t necessarily preclude that from being used, either.
Here are five ways social media posts can come back to hurt your case during a personal injury lawsuit.
1. Contradicting your claims
As in the example above, it’s easy to contradict yourself on social media if you are claiming injury or pain and suffering. We all have better and worse days—even after an injury, you may feel better some days and want to go back to doing what you did before the accident. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but if you post a photo or information about your activity, the other party may use that as evidence in court to say you are contradicting your claim.
2. Job updates
Oftentimes, personal injury lawsuits seek compensation for time lost at work due to an injury. If your job is in the construction industry and you’ve had a back injury in a car accident, for example, you likely shouldn’t work in order to give the injury time to heal. A lawyer can help you seek compensation from the other party to cover the lost wages you could have earned if you hadn’t been injured.
However, sometimes people can be reassigned or can go back to work once their injuries have been treated. If you post about a new job or going back to work, the other party can use this in court to damage your claims, saying that you’re capable of work and not entitled to compensation for lost wages. It’s best to keep your work news off social media until your case is completely resolved.
3. Friends and family
Even if you post minimally and are careful not to share anything that could hurt your case, your family and friends may not be as conscious. For example, a friend could tag you in a photo that they post to their own accounts. While it may not be enough alone to prove that you were not injured or did not experience loss of enjoyment or mental anguish, your case could be damaged if photos show you participating in activities without any show of pain or injury.
4. Privacy settings may not protect you
Many people have now set their profiles, feeds, and information to private. While that helps protect your information from the average viewer without your approval, it may not protect you from a court. Courts can order you to show your social media if the evidence is deemed relevant. People who are friends with you could also provide the information to the opposing party voluntarily, if they have access to it.
5. Showing behavior tendencies
The other party’s job is to do whatever they can to protect their client, which means finding information that can undermine your claim. If they can use information from your social media profile such as high-risk activities, previous accidents, or conversations you’ve had about the injury or other accidents, it could show a pattern of risky behavior that they could use to claim you had a role in the accident. Even if you don’t see the pattern, the other party could tell a story that convinces a court to side with them based on your history.
All these things about social media add up to simple advice: Use it as little as you can or not at all. Even a post telling people you’re okay after a car accident could be used against you. Instead, try to stay off social media platforms with personal posts as much as possible until your case is resolved to give your lawyer the best chance in court to win compensation for your after an injury.