As we have explained before, in today’s ubiquitous communications climate, the first rule of successfully pursuing a personal injury case is exercising caution and common sense across the board on all of your social media platforms. Many times, personal injury victims fail to act appropriately on one or more of their social media outlets by haphazardly posting photos, injuries, opinions, or other details about the incident in question before a settlement is reached. This arms the defense with a veritable arsenal to pick apart a plaintiff’s case and destroy their credibility, effectively ruining the victim’s case before it even begins. Because of this, plaintiffs are often advised to suspend or even eliminate their social media presence until their claim is officially settled. There are rare times, however, when personal injury victims and their attorneys can use social media to their advantage, but they must exercise discretion when doing so.
If you have been involved in a personal injury accident and are thinking about legally pursuing your claim, cleaning up your social media profiles is a great first step. Establishing credibility is paramount in these cases, so make sure that all previous posts are free from any improper or insensitive language, suggestive photos, controversial links, or discussions of any illegal or questionable activities dealing with things like substance abuse. Additionally, if friends or family members are discussing aspects of your case or personal life on their social media pages, ask them to stop and to delete the posts immediately. Remember, it is essential to paint an accurate and positive picture of your character and exhibit your maturity and good taste, both online and in your daily life. This will make clear to everyone involved in your case that you are a trustworthy person who contributes to society.
Personal injury victims can also positively influence their online presence by firmly establishing their family priorities on their social media sites. If you have positive, rewarding relationships with your family members, be sure to post and share photos of yourself interacting with them. Proud of your kids? Post their athletic and academic accomplishments. Close with your parents? Be sure to wish them a happy birthday or wedding anniversary. Miss your new nephew? Rave about how cute he looks in the adorable outfit you bought him last Christmas. This might seem excessive or frivolous, but if these posts reflect your true character (which we are sure they will), then they are both genuine and advantageous.
Unfortunately, some individuals do attempt to pursue illegitimate personal injury cases as a means to financially support themselves and avoid working, so it is important to stress that you possess a strong work ethic as well as educational and professional goals. You want to make sure that no one could ever confuse you with someone attempting to manipulate the system through a bogus claim, and presenting a strong professional life online is one way to accomplish this. Make sure that you list all positive previous and current employers, as well as previous education history. Create posts that point toward your determination for excellence in the workplace and that compliment your professional achievements. If you are enrolled in school, make sure to highlight positive classroom experiences and address how your academic experience is enriching your life. The legal system and jurors usually look fondly upon positive, productive people who are trying their hardest to better themselves, and this is especially true in personal injury cases.
Although these tips may have a positive influence on your online persona, we do wish to remind anyone who is considering pursuing a personal injury case that in most instances, the best option is to eliminate or suspend all social media profiles before filing suit. This will, ultimately, prevent any potentially damaging information from being used against you. If you do choose to maintain your social media profiles after filing suit, however, please bear in mind that there are legal statutes that could potentially prevent you from altering or deleting certain posts relevant to your case after the fact. According to the rules of electronic discovery, online information you may have considered personal can be preserved as evidence and placed on a legal hold if defense counsel and the judge agree that said information is relevant to the proceedings.
If you have recently been involved in a personal injury case or are thinking of pursuing one, you should carefully examine your social media profiles. Delete any posts that would potentially bring your character into question (even if they have a reasonable explanation or were made by friends or family members), and do not discuss any details of your case or post any related photos – ever. For further advice or answers to your questions about your case, please contact Crosley Law Firm today at (877) 535-4529 or visit us online to learn more about our no-fee policy and schedule a free consultation. We have our clients’ best interests at heart and have built our reputation on our knowledge, skill, experience, and integrity. We look forward to hearing from you soon and putting our expertise to work to help you achieve the best results possible in your personal injury case.