One of the benefits of our modern high-tech society has been the explosive growth in the cellular phone market. Nowadays, just about anybody can afford to have a small, powerful communication device in his or her pocket. We can all communicate not only with friends and family, but even complete strangers via social media. It could be argued that there’s been an overall increase in public safety, too, because help can be called immediately from almost anywhere, right at the scene of the accident or emergency.
But there’s a downside to this level of interconnectedness, too. After a car accident, insurance adjusters are looking for any excuse to reduce or even dismiss your claim entirely so the company doesn’t have to pay out on a policy. You can bet that they’ll be looking for information about your case from any source that they can find, including social media—and they’ll try to use it to put a stop to your rightful claim.
Luckily, there are some things that you can do after an accident to minimize the impact that an innocent social media post could have on your personal injury lawsuit. Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself and your rightful claim to compensation after a car accident, and how to get legal help today.
How to Protect Your Car Accident Claim
Whether you’re an active, frequent user of social media or a casual, occasional user, the first thing you should do is to adjust the privacy settings on your accounts. Facebook, Twitter, and other social sites usually have a page that allows you to control who sees your past, present, or future posts. By setting your accounts to “private” or “friends-only” for the duration of your case, you’re taking a good first step to protect your case. However, remember that your information is never truly private online on social media sites. For example, if a friend or family member “shares” a post that you think is private, it could still be seen.
Here are some additional precautions that you should take to protect yourself:
- Don’t share details about your accident. Not only could the information you share get back to the insurance company or defendant’s attorneys, but any omission, inaccuracy, or error could also be brought up in court and used against you, too.
- Avoid posting emotional outbursts. Accidents are physically traumatic and emotionally challenging, but posting mean, angry things about the other driver is a bad idea, no matter how frustrated you are. Even if you don’t reveal any details about the case, the defense could end up using it to generate sympathy for the other driver and make you look like the bad guy, even if the accident wasn’t your fault.
- Don’t post pictures or videos. Photos of your accident could be used as evidence in your case, and one bad camera angle could give the defense a reason to try and reduce your claim. Photos of your participation in other activities could even be used to claim that you weren’t seriously hurt and therefore aren’t owed as much for your injuries.
- Ask your friends and family not to photograph or “tag” you. It’s best to avoid being photographed during your case in general, but being “tagged” in a photo while in certain places could lead to challenges against your claim, even if you have a legitimate reason to be there.
- Be wary of new followers or friend requests. An insurance adjuster or attorney for the defense could be trying to see what you’ve posted, even if it’s locked to your friends or followers only. Deny new requests for now, unless you know the person.
In general, it’s a good idea to just go “radio silent” on social media when you have a lawsuit pending, and avoid posting anything at all until the case is finished. Anything that leaks back to the opposing counsel could be used against you—even a simple status update showing that you’re happy about something unrelated could be used as an attempt to show that you’re not really suffering as much as you claim. You may still win the case if your attorney can prove otherwise, but why put your case in jeopardy?
Get Legal Help After a Car Accident
If you’ve been hurt in a car accident and it wasn’t your fault, Wayne Wright LLP would like to hear from you today. We fight for the rights of accident victims so that they can receive the compensation that they’re owed for their medical bills, rehabilitation, lost wages, damaged personal property, pain and suffering, and more. To arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with a legal professional who cares about your situation, call us by phone, send an email with our contact form, or click the live chat box on this page right now.