5 Tips to Prevent Social Media From Damaging Your Case

You hit publish and watch your post go live on social media. Now it’s time to sit back and enjoy the dopamine burst that a handful of likes inspires over a seemingly “innocent” post. But did you know that sharing details about a potential legal scenario on your favorite social network could be a costly mistake? 

We’re in an age where social networks hold the promise of connection. The Pew Research Center says roughly 70 percent of Americans are on at least one social media network. Less than 15 years ago, only 5 percent of Americans had an online profile, which makes the growth astounding. With more than four billion people worldwide uploading 300 million photos to an online platform daily, it’s second nature to have social media be a part of everyday life. 

And we don’t think twice about sharing something as life-changing as a car accident. But, experts say not so fast. Using social media in the middle of a personal injury claim can actually damage your case. Most lawyers recommend abstaining from posting on social media until your case is settled because what you say, where you check in, and how you act online can all be used against you in a court of law. In order to preserve your chances of receiving fair compensation, keep these five tips in mind for using social media wisely after an accident. 

Tip #1: Insurance Companies Can (and Do!) Use Social Media Against You

In the eyes of insurance companies, the more you post, the better. Insurance companies and their attorneys always have the right to use public information to build a case. If you publish details about yourself or your case on social media for the world to see, it’s fair game. For example:

  • If you’re looking to recover medical expenses and show yourself hiking on social media, that could be used to undercut injury claims. 
  • A detailed post on Facebook that differs from an initial statement you gave to police could be used to argue you’re an unreliable witness. 
  • Telling friends you’re “doing fine” could be considered proof that your injuries aren’t that severe.

Tip #2: Limit Your Social Media Activity

If you must post, do so sparingly. It’s harder for insurance companies and their attorneys to discredit you. Stick to “liking” other people’s posts. Try to avoid commenting as much as possible. If you do post on social media, keep it brief. Assume that anything you say on social media will be used against you. Generally, you will be safe if you stick to these points:

  • You were involved in an accident
  • You were injured
  • You are seeking the appropriate medical treatment
  • You are grateful for the support of friends and family

Tip #3: Adjust Your Privacy and Location Settings

Even if you aren’t planning to post anything about your accident, set your profiles to private rather than public view. Insurance company investigators could search past posts and comments for something to use against you. And think about how often you comment on friends’ posts, and what you say in those comments. Their privacy settings may not be private so your comments could be game for the whole world to see. 

You should also adjust your location-based settings or limit your “check-ins.” Especially if it’s a place where you have the potential to be active (gyms, sports classes, etc.). This could be used against you to argue you aren’t as injured as you claim. Even the most casual status update could be used against you at trial. 

Tip #4: Think Before You Do Anything

At its core, social media is designed to elicit a response. Take a second to consider before you post, accept friend requests from people you know or discuss something as serious as your accident or injuries. 

And if you did post something, think before you quickly delete. It may still be possible to retrieve an archived version and if it can be proved that you deleted a potentially incriminating post, you’ll look even worse to a judge or jury. 

These tips go for any of your close friends and family members, too. Ask your immediate circle not to post anything about you after the accident until your case has been resolved. 

Tip #5: Consult Your Attorney With Any Questions

At the very least, make a point to consult with your attorney about the things you can and cannot do regarding your social media activity. Under no circumstances should you accept responsibility for any aspect of the accident, undermine the seriousness or call into question the extent of your injuries. If you wish to discuss the specifics of your case in a free consultation with an experienced Tucson personal injury lawyer, please contact us today.