Social media is an excellent tool for keeping in touch with our friends and family. Having someone to talk to or being able to vent can be helpful, especially when we are upset and stressed. However, posting too many details about your life on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or other social media channels after a car accident can be a mistake. When it comes to social media and your car accident, it is better to play it safe and stop posting anything until your personal injury claim is resolved.
Protecting Your Legal Rights
According to experts, most car crashes happen due to driver error or negligence. If you suffered injuries and financial losses due to another driver's negligence, you deserve compensation and could potentially hold the negligent driver responsible with a claim through their insurance company or with a personal injury lawsuit. However, protecting your legal rights can be extremely important if you want to give yourself the best chance at recovering compensation.
Seek Medical Attention
First of all, individuals should seek medical attention immediately after a car accident even if they are not experiencing any major symptoms. Some conditions, for example, traumatic brain injury (TBI), internal organ damage, or internal bleeding can take days or even weeks to appear, according to the Mayo Clinic. Having a medical report can also serve as excellent evidence of a victim's injuries and damages in a lawsuit.
Social Media Can Harm Your Case
There are several ways in which social media can harm your car accident claim even if you are not talking about the accident specifically. Hence, you may be better off refraining from using social media at all while you have a claim pending with an insurance company or a lawsuit pending. These can include:
INADVERTENTLY ADMITTING FAULT
Even if you are not legally to blame for a crash, comments you make regarding the accident could be interpreted or twisted as admitting some fault. Expect the at-fault party's attorney or any attorneys hired by the insurance company to search for anything they can find that could be used against you, which can include examining your social media activity.
LOSING THE PROTECTION OF CONFIDENTIALITY
Anything you discuss with your car accident attorney is protected by confidentiality, under attorney-client privilege. However, when you post any details about your accident on social media, they become public information and are now potentially there for all to see. What is even more concerning, consider that social media evidence is admissible by law and can be requested from you by the other party involved in the accident. Evidence can include “private” posts as well as any deleted posts from social media accounts. It can be particularly damaging for your case if you have posted anything regarding:
- Your injuries
- Any details of the accident
- Your mental state
MINIMIZING A POTENTIAL SETTLEMENT
Unfortunately, nothing you post on social media remains confidential. It is important to understand that courts can and will admit social media evidence in all types of personal injury cases. The other side may even actively request such evidence from you, including not only public but also private social media posts. Therefore, your best course of action after a car accident can be to stay away from social media completely, at least until any legal action has concluded.
While this can be challenging, especially if social media is the main way you stay in touch with friends and family, consider other ways for social contact such as phone calls or in-person visits. Posting on social media could cost you dearly, especially if you have large medical bills and lost a considerable amount of income during your recovery. If you are claiming significant injuries or partial disability, pictures of you out on the town or engaging in physical activities and be turned against you. Social media posts that hurt your claim could reduce your chances of recovering adequate compensation and potentially leave you with considerable amounts of expenses to pay out of your own pocket.
DO NOT DELETE ALREADY CREATED POSTS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
If you have already been active on social media after an accident, do not be tempted to delete any past posts, especially if you are in the middle of a lawsuit. The court can potentially interpret such actions as tampering with evidence. The legal doctrine is called "spoliation", whic h means if you destroy evidence, the judge or jury can assume it would have hurt your case. If you want to find out about how to handle social media and your car accident in a way that will not harm your claim, speak to an experienced car accident attorney who can advise you on your best steps.