If you are preparing to make a claim for injuries you or a loved one has suffered in a recent accident, your social media portals are not a “safe” place to discuss your feelings or thoughts regarding the incident. Providing details and making statements online about an accident or claim can be extremely risky, and potentially damaging, to your settlement, even if only your “friends” can see your posts.
Continue reading to learn some common social media mistakes accident victims make so that you can avoid jeopardizing your personal injury claim.
Social Media Vulnerability
Social media can easily sabotage a personal injury lawsuit in quite a few ways. With the exponential rise of various social media portals and websites, such as Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and similar social media platforms, users are still learning how they affect other aspects of their personal and professional lives. It is important to understand that social media can be used as evidence against individuals, whether in a serious legal matter, or in a personal or private setting.
For example, if an employee calls in sick to work, and then later posts pictures of themselves at a beach party the same day, it is possible for the employer to find out and reprimand them. In another example, a man might tell his wife that he cannot make dinner with her parents because he has to work late, but then checks in on Facebook at the football stadium a few hours later. Well, the same idea can be applied to lawsuits and trial. Social media pictures and posts can sometimes be used as evidence in a court of law.
Here are three common mistakes personal injury claimants make on social media:
❶ Posting Subjecting Video Footage or Photos
Videos, pictures, “check ins”, and even blogs can be imperiling in a personal injury case. For instance, if a person is pursuing a slip and fall lawsuit after suffering a broken pelvis, they would be seriously endangering their case if they did something like post a video of themselves walking their dog, or upload a picture of them jumping off a diving board. The opposing insurance company or counsel will surely use posts like these as evidence against an injury compensation claim.
Defense counsel will sometimes even argue that seemingly innocent photos show more than they do. Because posts are only a snapshot in time, they can only arguably show how a person was feeling or what they were doing at a certain time. Postings can create the illusion that a person is physically okay because people usually do not post photos of themselves injured or when they are hurting. It is best not to post anything at all to avoid these potential arguments by defense counsel altogether.
❷ Divulging Confidential Conditions of Settlements
For lawsuits that settle out of court, it is a practice to sometimes require both parties to sign a non-disclosure agreement to prevent either party (or family and friends of each party) to say anything about the opposing party. Disclosing or revealing confidential terms of settlements and trial details can be a breach of contract under such an agreement. Many people do not think about their social media sites as a means of breaking such agreements, but they are. It is vital to refrain from posting anything about a lawsuit or settlement, online or anywhere else.
❸ Making Aggressive or Threatening Statements
It is common for people to express their negative and angry feelings online; however, in a personal injury case, this is a big mistake that can cost a person their settlement. Although it is understandable that if a person is hurting and has been injured and/or is not making a paycheck because they cannot work due to someone else’s negligence that was avoidable that they would be angry, it is best to keep those thoughts and feelings to one’s self. Although online social media posting is legal, it can gravely hurt a victim’s chances of recovering remuneration for their damages in a personal injury accident. It will only guarantee a case going to trial, where such videos, photos, and postings can be used against them in a court of law.