Why Posting on Social Media After an Accident Can Hurt Your Case
As insurance investigators build their defense in a personal injury case, they will gather online information about you and the accident. One step you can take to protect your case is refraining from posting on social networks after the accident. Online posts and messages might harm a personal injury case. Read on to learn more.
Who Should Stop Posting, and Where?
Investigators may be able to find any public social media profile you have. Beginning immediately after your accident, you should refrain from publishing any new:
- Facebook posts, comments, or likes
- Twitter posts, including retweets
- YouTube videos, comments, and shorts
- TikTok videos and comments
- LinkedIn posts, likes, reposts, and comments
- Posts on any other public profile
An insurance company may also attempt to find information about the accident through other people’s profiles. This includes witnesses to the accident, but it may also include your family and friends. While your loved ones may have good intentions, you should ask them not to post about you or the accident until your case concludes.
What Can Insurers Do with Social Media Posts?
Through social media posts, investigators may be able to find information, including:
- Written accounts from witnesses to the accident
- Video footage of the accident itself, including recorded live streams from the scene
- Pictures of the accident aftermath
- Information on the injuries you sustained
- Witnesses’ opinions about the accident, including their perspectives on who was responsible
Once an investigator finds posts or profiles, they may use them in some of these common ways:
- Misinterpret post content or the poster’s intentions – Social media posts are far less formal than an interrogatory, deposition transcript, or in-court testimony. As such, they are more open to interpretation. Defense attorneys may take posts that carry an informal or sarcastic tone literally and try to use the content against you.
- Evaluate attached footage – Insurers will closely look at posts with photos, videos, or audio recordings attached to find details they can use in a case.
- Use passionate statements – Emotions can become intense after an accident. A defense lawyer could use anything a plaintiff or witness posts to damage their credibility. It is best not to make these posts at all.
What About Posts Unrelated to the Accident?
Remember that in a personal injury case, you are pursuing compensation for your lost quality of life, not just your medical bills, lost wages, and damaged property. Your health always takes top priority after an accident, and you may enjoy quality time with others or participate in the hobbies you are able to engage in to preserve your mental health during your recovery.
However, just as the defense will investigate the accident, they will also scrutinize claims you make about your life in the aftermath. Even if a post does not relate to the accident, they may use it to downplay the impact of your injuries on other areas of your life. For this reason, we advise that our clients totally pause their social media activity until their case concludes.
What Can You Do with Your Social Media Profiles?
Social media platforms may allow users to control access to their profiles and how people can interact with public information. In addition to a social media fast, you should also consider the following steps to protect your rights:
- Check your privacy settings – You should stay informed on how your profiles are configured for privacy. For example, platforms may allow you to make specific posts public or private. You may also be able to block people from seeing your posts if you have not accepted a friend request from them.
- Delete posts harming your claim – If you’ve already made posts about the accident, you should talk with your attorney. If they agree, you could delete them from your profile. However, don’t delete the posts on your own. Deleting some posts could look as if you’re trying to hide something.
- Deactivate your accounts – Some social networks may allow you to deactivate or “pause” your accounts. Enabling this feature will block anyone, even your friends, from seeing your profile or any past posts tied to it.
- Look back at your comments on others’ posts – Note that if you make comments on other people’s posts and then delete your account, they may still appear to other users. While the platform may say comments are from a “deleted user,” they are still your words. You should run a search for these types of comments and delete them before you deactivate or delete your profiles.
Contact a South Carolina Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you were injured through no fault of your own, the Charleston and Georgetown personal injury attorneys of Evans Moore, LLC are ready to answer your questions on how online posts can impact your case. Contact our office today at (843) 995-5000 for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.