How Social Media Can Hurt Your Personal Injury Claim
After you’ve been injured by an accident, it’s natural to seek the support of family and friends on social media. This is particularly true of the 68 percent of adults who use Facebook and other platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, often on a daily basis.
Unfortunately, what you say to insurance adjusters, friends, coworkers and family members, even on social media, can affect the outcome of your personal injury case or workers’ compensation claim. This even applies to statements that seem to have little to do with your car accident or injury.
At Campbell & Associates, our personal injury lawyers know the tactics that insurance companies often use to avoid paying full and fair compensation to personal injury victims, including using information from social media platforms. Contact us at 704-333-0885 or schedule a free consultation today.
Why Do Insurance Companies Care About Your Social Media Activity?
Personal injury claims are designed to support victims with the financial difficulties from injuries and property loss. But the process certainly isn’t automatic, and it’s not always fair.
Insurance claims adjusters, defense attorneys, and even other parties involved in your accident want to decrease their liability in order to decrease the amount they have to pay you.
That process can include using the following social media activity against you:
→ Apologies or admissions of fault. In the midst of stress following an injury, people have a tendency to want to apologize, even when an accident wasn’t their fault. Unfortunately, these statements can be used against you. This is particularly true in North Carolina where insurance company lawyers can argue contributory negligence to claim that you were even slightly at fault.
Even simple statements like, “I never saw them coming” or “I couldn’t stop” can enable the other side to argue that you played a role in causing your own injuries.
→ Photos or videos from the crash scene. While crash scene photos and video are invaluable for your own (or your attorney’s) use, they can be used to skew the truth. Even photos or videos of your injuries, getting casts removed or spending time at the hospital can be used against you.
→ Evidence to minimize your injuries. On the other hand, normal photos of daily life such as birthday parties, barbecues or a quiet evening with friends can also be used as evidence. Lawyers on the other side often use these posts to argue that a victim has exaggerated their injuries.
→ Angry comments or updates. The details of your case only stay confidential if you’ve discussed them with your lawyer and no one else. But angry emotions and public venting often lead to oversharing details about your accident, physical health, medical conditions, mental health and emotional state.
How to Prevent Social Media from Hurting Your Personal Injury Claim
If you have a pending personal injury claim, your safest option is to stay off social media entirely until your case is over. However, limited use can also help to protect your confidentiality.
→ Never discuss your case. Personal injury lawyers recommend victims only give essentials when it comes to describing accidents (date, location and contact information). Very simply, do not discuss the facts or legal status of your case, even after it has been resolved.
→ Limit your activity. While it’s best to avoid all social media use during this time, you can also avoid posting messages, photos or videos of yourself. Restricting your activity to “liking” photos or sharing news articles may keep your information safe from prying eyes. However, insurance companies have also been known to cite high levels of online activity to undermine personal injury cases.
→ Heighten your privacy settings. Although courts have repeatedly ruled that social media users can’t expect privacy when they post online, you should use the highest level of privacy settings for your accounts and decline new friend requests. Not sure how to do that? Head here for Facebook and here for Instagram and Twitter.
What to Do If You’ve Already Posted
Do not go back and delete posts or questionable content. The court might view this as tampering with evidence, especially if the attorneys for the other side have made a request to access your social media accounts. Instead, leave your social media accounts as they are and call an experienced personal injury attorney immediately for advice about your case.
Get Help from an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
Our experienced personal injury lawyers at Campbell & Associates can help you navigate the legal steps to recover full and fair compensation. In fact, contacting a North Carolina personal injury lawyer immediately after your accident is the best way to learn what you should do to maximize the compensation you may be entitled to. Contact us today for a free consultation at 704-333-0885 or online for a free case evaluation.