How Social Media Can Ruin Your Personal Injury Lawsuit

How Social Media Can Ruin Your Personal Injury Lawsuit

After suffering a personal injury case, you’ve probably taken all steps to get compensation. That includes partnering with a West Virginia personal injury lawyer, tracking all the medical records and evidence to prove your claim, and researching all possible information to understand the injury claims process in your state. Meanwhile, you also use social media to update your day-to-day activities – probably even mentioned something about your pending personal injury lawsuit. But did you know that social media can work against you and hurt your chances of recovering your damages?

Remember, insurance companies and their attorneys will use every resource at their disposal to discredit you and your case, so they don’t pay (or minimize) your settlement. Here’s how social media can ruin your personal injury claim.

When Social Media Isn’t Helpful in a Pending Personal Injury Claim

While social media has the power to change your life positively, it can also negatively impact your ongoing personal injury litigation. As technology advances and becomes more sophisticated, adjusters and defense attorneys have become savvier at accessing private social media accounts, despite these sites having virtually impenetrable security restrictions.

You might think that your social media sites don’t contain any incriminating information, but a defense lawyer or adjuster can find a plethora of seemingly harmless statements or visual content that they can use against you.

What Social Media Activities Can the Defense Use Against Your Claim?

Saying something or posting a picture on social media that contradicts your claim makes the facts of the case doubtful and can make you look ill-intentioned. That’s a loophole for the insurance company, their adjusters, and the defense team to convince the court not to award your settlement.

For example, you might claim that you have a broken arm or leg, but you post on social media about your plans to go bowling or go on a vacation. In such a case, that post can undermine your claim for a physical injury or financial loss. Additionally, making statements about your claim, specifically the estimated settlement or any posts related to your poor financial situation, makes you appear as if your primary motive is to go after the insurance company for the money.

The defendant’s insurance or attorneys can retrieve those photos of you smiling or enjoying yourself on vacation to deny any claims of pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment in life (LEL). They could also use photos of you with your friends in a bowling alley to undermine your character.

Social Media Posts Are Admissible in Court

Whether in Phoenix, Tucson, Scottsdale, or Flagstaff, personal injury lawsuits follow Stae rules. Those rules specify that what a person says outside of court is inadmissible in a lawsuit. Out-of-court statements are categorized as hearsay, and thus can’t be used as evidence against the defendant or plaintiff.

However, there are exceptions to these rules or statements made by a declarant involved in a personal injury claim. After filing a PI lawsuit, what you say outside the court (in public) is admissible against you, since you are a party to the lawsuit. Think of it as talking on the phone in public, and an investigator or a police officer hears it as incriminating evidence against you. In that case, you don’t enjoy the reasonable expectation of privacy, and they need not obtain a search warrant based on probable cause.

Your social media posts count as statements, and if you never restricted access to these posts by third parties, not even the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution can protect you. That’s why those posts can be used against you in court. Even comments or statements by friends and family are admissible if they contradict your statement in court.

How to Protect Yourself from Social Media Activity that Might Hurt Your Injury Claim

While people are often implored to refrain from using social media while pursuing personal injury claims, most find it hard to do so. However, you can use several strategies to protect your social media activities during a pending personal injury settlement.

  • Always update your privacy settings.
  • After consulting an attorney, don’t discuss the facts of the case with anyone except the attorney or your doctor. Any information you share outside these privileged relationships can be used against you.
  • Don’t post any new photos, and advise your friends not to share your photos or tag you in their social media posts. Moreover, delete any existing posts that might compromise your case.
  • Be cautious of who you add as a new friend on social media. If it’s someone you don’t recognize, don’t accept their request even if you share a mutual friend. Often, false accounts add a mutual friend to make you feel safe and confident, yet they are trying to review your profile activity.

How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

If you’re an accident victim pursuing an injury claim, it’s critical to partner with a professional and experienced Personal Injury Attorney. Your attorney can review the facts of your case, gather the evidence, file the claim, and offer legal representation. They can also provide legal counsel at every stage of your case.

That legal guidance helps you understand the acts and statements you should avoid to ensure your case runs smoothly and successfully. That includes any advice on social-media use that can hurt your injury lawsuit. It’s better to hire a lawyer from The Miley Legal Group than make mistakes that can compromise your ability to receive the settlement you need to get back on your feet.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can’t I just make my page “Friends Only” so that I don’t hurt my personal injury claim?

Even by making your Facebook page friends only, other non-friends can see what you post. If they know your friends, they can ask them for your information voluntarily.

Will my personal injury claim go to trial?

Most personal injury cases get resolved before the trial date. However, it may go to trial if there’s a dispute or a contested legal issue, in which case the court may rule either way.

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