Social Media And Your Personal Injury Case
Social media is a convenient way to keep in touch with family and friends near and far. However, if you are an injury victim about to file a lawsuit, social media could create legal challenges for your case. Protecting your legal rights is crucial when you suffer a personal injury. While it is understandable that victims wish to share details and photographs of their accident on social media, they should consider carefully how it will impact their ability to receive compensation for their injuries and losses.
Revealing any information about your life on social media could harm your right to compensation. It is often a wise choice to stop using social media altogether for the duration of their lawsuit or at least drastically limiting the use of social media. Chuck Franklin Law can help you avoid legal challenges with social media and your personal injury case and fight for what you deserve under the law. If you suffered a personal injury and are looking for legal advice, call us now at 480-545-0700 or fill in our online form to schedule a free case review.
Posts to Avoid on Social Media
If you hope to recover compensation in a personal injury lawsuit, anything you post online could potentially be used against you. This includes posts on social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Consider that the at-fault party’s attorney and insurance company are only too eager to find any evidence online that they could use to minimize or deny your personal injury claim. You should avoid the following types of social media posts at all costs if you want to protect your legal rights:
- Photographs of the accident or your injuries
- Mentioning any facts of the accident or of a settlement offer
- Check-ins at the gym or parties when claiming loss of wages
- Photographs of physical activities when seeking damages for serious injuries
If you have already posted information about the accident, your injuries, or your activities on social media, deleting the posts during your lawsuit could make things even worse and potentially constitute a criminal offense. According to the National Law Review, purging your social media account could be interpreted as “spoliation”, the deliberate tampering with evidence in a lawsuit.
Keep the Details of Your Accident Confidential
Anything you share with your lawyer is privileged, which means your conversations generally remain confidential. However, sharing information about the accident and your injuries with friends, family, and, potentially, strangers on social media means you have no control over where the information ends up. Unfortunately, it could end up in the hands of the other party or their lawyer.
The other side will search for any information revealing details of your recovery and emotional state. They will also try to find something that could help them pin the blame for the accident on you. If you take steps to ensure that important information stays between you and your lawyer, there will be nothing to worry about. Social media and personal injury cases should be kept strictly separate.
Setting Your Page to Private
Injury victims may not realize that social media content is admissible as evidence in a court of law. During a lawsuit, you could be ordered to provide your social media accounts and printouts of any posts and comments to court. In this case, it will not matter whether the posts were set to public or private.
Moreover, if you have already deleted your social media accounts, a court could order you to reinstate your profiles and provide the requested evidence. The same potentially applies to any posts about the accident or your personal life made by your friends and family. While setting your page to private is generally a good idea, it will not necessarily protect you.
Friends and Family’s Social Media Pages
Now that you have stopped using social media or barely use it, everything will be fine, correct? Not necessarily. While you can control your own social media use and accounts, you cannot control the social media activity of your family, friends, and online acquaintances.
If your contacts post anything about your accident, tag you in pictures or posts, or check you in at certain locations, they could be damaging your case and provide ammunition to the other side. Suppose you are claiming damages for a severe injury, and your friend tags you in a picture showing you both scuba diving. Something as innocent as a friend posting a photograph could harm your case and cost you dearly.
A good way to minimize the potential for damaging posts is to talk to friends and family, explain your situation, and ask them not to post anything to do with you or tag you in any photographs. While you cannot control others’ social media accounts, most will understand and comply with your wishes for the duration of your lawsuit.
Do I Have to Stop Using Social Media Altogether?
Stopping social media altogether during your personal injury case can ensure there will be no missteps that could compromise your right to legal recourse and compensation. However, especially during the pandemic, social media has become a lifeline for many of us, connecting us to family and friends. If you do not want to stop using social media, try to limit your activity to posts that cannot be misinterpreted or used by the other side, such as sharing news articles and wishing friends a happy birthday.
Chuck Franklin Law Can Help
If you recently got injured due to another’s fault, you should seek legal advice. You could potentially recover compensation. Do not wait too long to find out about your legal options and next best steps, as the Arizona Statute of Limitations §12-542 generally gives victims only two years to file a personal injury lawsuit. The time starts on the day of your accident and injury.
Chuck Franklin Law can be here for you during an upsetting and stressful time. We have helped countless clients recover the settlement they needed to rebuild their lives after getting hurt in an accident. We can determine your legal options and help you move forward with a lawsuit. Consider visiting with our experienced personal injury attorneys at 480-545-0700, or simply contact us online to learn about your legal rights for free today.
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