If you’re reading this, odds are you have some kind of social media account and use it quite a bit. 68% of Americans use Facebook for an average of almost an hour a day, connecting with friends, sharing updates about their lives and following the latest news.
It’s likely a part of your daily life, which makes this next statement so important: if you get into a personal injury accident and want to recover compensation, you should drastically change how you use social media!
We’ll share some of the ways that insurance companies and their lawyers will mine your social media data for anything they can use to weaken your case and prevent you from getting fully compensated for your injuries and financial losses.
If you’ve been in an accident where you suffered injuries, do not post on social media right away. Give us a call at 845-600-0000 and schedule a free consultation at our offices at Kingston or Poughkeepsie. We have decades of experience at recovering the maximum possible settlements for personal injury plaintiffs in the Hudson Valley.
1. Any information you post can and will be used against you and your case
We understand that accidents are upsetting, and that posting on social media can help provide some support from one’s social circle. But any photos, videos, or text that you post or send in messages can be used against you in court, even if you set the privacy to “friends only.”
2. Your posts can be used to discredit your emotional state
In addition to recovering compensation for medical expenses and lost wages, in some cases, plaintiffs are able to recover compensation for pain and suffering. However, if you have a post at some point after an accident that shows that you were happy or joyful, even if only for a moment, that can potentially be used to hurt your case.
3. Your posts can be used to discredit your physical condition
If there’s a video of you dancing or moving around nimbly after a car accident, it may be used against you in your personal injury case, even if you were actually in searing pain while you danced. The only way to be safe is to not post.
4. Posts by other people can be used to hurt your case
Let’s say you’re extremely careful about not posting anything that could hurt your case. It is still possible for one of your friends or family members to post something that could call your physical or emotional state into question by the insurance company’s attorneys. If you’re around a friend who just can’t stop posting on social media, let them know about your situation and ask that they respect your boundaries.
5. Secure your social media account
There are steps you can take to secure your social media account. While you’re considering or pursuing a personal injury case, set your privacy to “friends only.” Make it so that friends can’t tag you in photos or say that they’re “with you.” Make as many elements of your profile, like event RSVPs, friends list, and “about” as private as possible.
Even better, you can temporarily deactivate your social media accounts altogether. This would preserve any past posts but prevent people from tagging you and remove all possibility of posting anything incriminating. Once your case is settled, you can get right back on there.
6. Beware “random” friend requests
A common tactic used by insurance company lawyers is that they’ll try to send you a friend request so they can see any private content that you may be posting. We would recommend not accepting friend requests from people you don’t know. They may also try to become friends with your friends and family to see if that gives them any additional information.
7. Talk to a lawyer before posting new information
Maybe you really do need to post something about your case, or ask for help on social media. If you have a case pending, talk to your lawyer first to get a refresher on any dos and don’ts about your specific situation.
8. Download your complete records
Social media platforms like Facebook allow for you to download a complete record of all your pictures, posts, friends, and history. It’s a good idea to have a copy of them for your records.
9, Don’t delete things
It’s unethical for your attorney to advise you to delete something once it’s been posted, as that may constitute destruction of evidence.
Injured, and have questions about recovering full compensation? Give us a call at 845-600-0000 to schedule a free consultation with our personal injury law experts in Kingston or Poughkeepsie.