Let’s be honest; many of us can’t imagine life without social media. According to 2019 Pew Research Center data, 73% of people use our most popular social media platform, Facebook. More than 50% of them check their Facebook accounts more than once a day.
If you’ve been injured in a car crash, it may be tempting to go online and reassure your friends and family that you are doing well. However, if you’re pursuing a personal injury claim, posting on social media can have a negative effect on your case.
Although there are some instances where social media may help your case, it is safer to stay off social media altogether. But if that isn’t an option for you, keep reading to learn more about how social media can help and hurt your personal injury case.
Everyone’s on Social Media, Including Insurance Adjusters
A study by GlobalWebIndex found that 40% of internet users are on social media primarily for keeping up with friends and family. Many people share important life events on their social channels, including weddings and new jobs, along with more serious events like illnesses and injuries.
However, most of us aren’t completely honest on social media. In a British survey, less than 20% of people reported that their social media presence accurately represented their lives. Instead, they tended only to share “non-boring” information and made themselves appear more physically active than they actually were.
Sure, most of us know that their friends’ days aren’t filled with sunning on picture-perfect patios, eating gourmet meals, and posing with their well-behaved and thoughtful children. Life is complicated. Unfortunately, insurance adjusters sometimes take crash victims’ social media posts and try to use them against them.
Suppose the insurance adjuster checks your social media accounts and finds them filled with happy pictures of you laughing and playing with your loved ones. You never mention your car crash, your injuries, or your struggles. Why wouldn’t the adjuster try and argue that you’ve fully recovered and that the crash didn’t really impact your life?
However, that doesn’t mean you should delete your accounts or previous posts. This can appear suspicious, and the insurance company may think that you are hiding something. A judge might even consider it as evidence tampering in some cases. Instead, speak to an experienced personal injury attorney before deleting any content from your social media pages.
RELATED ARTICLE: “Cleaning Up” Your Social Account May Affect Your Injury Case
Your Social Media Accounts Can Showcase Your Character
Credibility is essential to your personal injury claim. You want the insurance company, judge, and jury to understand that you’re a reliable, honest, and hardworking person. Social media can be a great way to showcase these character traits.
Demonstrate Your Values
Show how much you care about your children, spouse, siblings, and other family members on social media. If you’re disappointed that you can’t make your niece’s recital because of a physical therapy session, post about it.
Show off Your Strong Work Ethic
If you’re taking your rehabilitation and therapy seriously, don’t be ashamed to talk about it. For example, if you needed to use a walker for a time, it’s okay to celebrate that you’ve rebuilt enough strength to upgrade to a cane! However, also remember to mention the hard days, since they’re an important part of your story.
After a serious crash or injury, you may have a lot of people to thank. If you had friends and family bring over meals, help with chores, shuttle your children to activities, or keep you company on tough days, give them the recognition they deserve. Your words will be deeply appreciated by your loved ones, and help document your struggle.
Social Media Can Also Be Used Against You
As previously mentioned, it’s best to stay off of social media when you are pursuing a personal injury claim. This may be difficult, but can keep the defense lawyers and insurers from using your posts against you. Remember to speak to your attorney before removing or editing earlier posts from your account.
Here are a few tips for protecting yourself on social media during your personal injury case:
Social Media Involves More Than Facebook
While Facebook is the most popular social media platform, you probably have many social media accounts. You need to protect your privacy (as much as possible) on all of them, including Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, dating sites, and chat groups.
Beware Private Investigators
The insurance company may hire a private investigator to keep an eye on you. This could involve both physical surveillance and online scrutiny. A private investigator may try to “friend” or follow you on social media to gain access to your profile and posts. Even if you are careful with what you post, it is still wise to not accept any new requests during your injury case.
Be Mindful of Tags and Mentions
Just because you’re careful about what you post, that doesn’t mean your friends and family are. Make sure they know that posting about you can damage your claim and ask them to check with you before posting, tagging, or mentioning you on social media.
“You want the insurance company, judge, and jury to understand that you’re a reliable, honest, and hardworking person.”
RELATED ARTICLE: How Social Media Can Harm Your Personal Injury Case
Your Personal Injury Case Social Media Checklist: 3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Post
How do you protect yourself against insurance company surveillance? If avoiding social media isn’t an option, ask yourself these three questions before you post anything online.
1. Am I being honest about my abilities in this post?
After an accident, many victims want to let friends and family know that they are doing well. But reassuring your followers that you’re fine when you’re actually struggling can backfire if the wrong people see the post.
2. Could the defense or insurance agent use this image against me?
If you have a desk job and are requesting compensation for past and future lost work, but you’ve been posting Instagram pictures of your progress building your kids’ swing set, you might have difficulty convincing a judge that you are too injured to be working. If you don’t mention that your part of the playset consisted of handing people nails and light tools, it could damage your credibility.
3. Does this post acknowledge my daily struggle and determination?
Rather than posting a check-in from a park with “Fun in the sun at Pearsall Park!” consider saying something more like “I’ll pay for these 30 minutes in the sun with my kids tomorrow, but I can’t resist those smiles.” Don’t lie to exaggerate your injuries or suffering, but clarify the post so that it shows your struggle.
Have Question About Social Media and Your Personal Injury Claim? Call Crosley Law
If you have questions about using social media during a personal injury case, call Crosley Law. Our personal injury attorneys can advise you on the best course of action regarding your social media usage and help you at every step of your case.
Perrin, A., Anderson, M. (2019, April 10). Share of U.S. adults using social media, including Facebook, is mostly unchanged since 2018. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/04/10/share-of-u-s-adults-using-social-media-including-facebook-is-mostly-unchanged-since-2018/
The latest social media trends to know in 2019. (2017). GlobalWebIndex. Retrieved from https://www.globalwebindex.com/ reports/social?__hstc=194337778.10182ca27b5af896b92aa8f77309ffa1.1558624756541.1558624756541.1558624756541.1&__hssc=194337778.1.1558624756542&__hsfp=2353239846
Warren, C. (2018, July 30). How honest are people on social media? Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/naked-truth/201807/how-honest-are-people-social-media
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.