The Impact of Social Media on a Personal Injury Claim
As most of us already know, social media is extremely popular these days. This is particularly true among younger Americans. More than 90% of millennials and approximately 78% of those in Generation X are active on social media, as are more than 60% of Baby Boomers. Overall, approximately three out of every four American adults are connected to at least one social media platform.
There is no doubt that social media has become an integral part of our lives; and connecting regularly with family and friends is a great way to stay in touch and keep updated on how everyone is doing. When someone is involved in a personal injury claim, however, being on social media is not such a great thing.
It is tempting after getting injured in a car accident, for example, to want to post about this on Facebook or another one of your favorite platforms to share details of the crash with those who might be concerned about what happened to you. It is easy to get on there and post photos, describe how the accident occurred, talk about your injuries, and make comments about the other driver. But this would be a big mistake.
How Social Media can Negatively Impact your Injury Claim
It is important to realize that when you are injured in an auto accident or suffer any other type of personal injury through no fault of your own, the other side or their insurer is going to do everything possible to diminish your claim. Their goal is to minimize their losses, which means that their best interests are not aligned with yours. They are going to look for evidence that supports their interests, and since most people use social media, insurance companies expend a lot of resources collecting information from the profiles of claimants.
Here are just a few of the ways that your social media profile can be used against you in a personal injury claim:
Comments can be Twisted to Imply Fault
After an auto accident or a similar type of traumatic event, people tend to say a lot of things in the heat of the moment without thinking them through. And for some individuals, apologizing is sort of a default reaction when something happens that hurts others or damages their property. Whenever someone is involved in a motor vehicle accident, it is never a good idea to apologize verbally at the scene and/or admit any kind of fault for an accident, and it is even worse to put something like this in writing. As much as you would like to tell people what happened to you, make sure to never do it electronically, because your words will almost certainly be twisted and used against you.
Comments and Photos can Be Used to Diminish the Extent of your Physical Injuries
In addition to talking about how the accident happened, you might also be tempted to discuss your injuries. The problem is that people who are involved in an auto accident often do not know the full extent of their injuries until they have had a thorough medical exam. In addition, people do not always feel hurt right after an accident because of the adrenaline rush they experience, then later on, the pain starts setting in. These are just a couple reasons why it is never a good idea to discuss your injuries on social media. It should be noted additionally that photos you post online (or that you are tagged in) could also be used to argue that you are not really as hurt as you claim to be.
Comments and Photos can be Used to Refute Claims of Emotional Distress
When someone suffers a personal injury that was someone else?s fault, they are entitled to damages for intangible losses such as pain-and-suffering and psychological distress. But people rarely discuss the negative aspects of their lives on social media. When discussing injuries with loved ones, it is more common to put on a brave and optimistic face and put the best possible spin on what happened. Doing so electronically could again be used against you, as could photos that show you smiling, laughing, and having a good time with family or friends.
I Have Strong Privacy Settings, So I Have Nothing to Worry About, Right?
Wrong. You may think that everything mentioned above does not apply to you because you have the strongest possible privacy settings on your social media profile and the insurance company will never find your posts. What you may not realize is that insurance investigators have abundant resources and they are very tech savvy. Investigators have been known to uncover social media information even when the user thought it was impossible.
Aside from that, all electronic information is discoverable in a personal injury claim, meaning the other side could subpoena the information if they don?t find it on their own. The bottom line is you should assume that anything you post on social media (or get tagged in from someone else?s post) will be seen by the other side, and act accordingly.
How Should I Handle I Social Media Accounts after a Personal Injury?
The best thing to do after being injured and becoming involved in a personal injury claim is to unplug from social media until the case is over. But that said, we realize that not everyone will be able to quit cold turkey. If you want to remain active, at the very least, follow these guidelines:
- Never post anything about your accident and/or ongoing personal injury case;
- Never talk about any conversations you have had with your attorney or the insurance company;
- Never talk about your injury, your medical diagnosis, your current condition, how you are feeling, or any related topic;
- Never post any photos of you with loved ones on vacation or at any other fun event;
- Adjust your settings so that others are not allowed to tag you on photos they take with you in them.
To sum it up, if you remain on social media, it is best to post information and photos and/or comment on other people?s posts as little as possible. Use social media as a tool to stay informed and updated on what others are doing; but refrain from posting any updates on what you are doing until after the case is over.
Contact an Experienced Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have been injured in an auto accident or you have suffered any other type of personal injury, you will need strong legal counsel by your side advocating forcefully for your rights and interests. If your injury occurred in Georgia, contact Ross Moore II, P.C. for assistance.
Call our Atlanta office today at (404) 491-8511 or message us online to schedule a free, no obligation consultation and case assessment.