Legal Blog

Can Social Media Really Affect My Personal Injury Claim?

Attorney David I. Fuchs

Author

Attorney David I. Fuchs

Date

Mar. 2, 2018

Category

News

You may have heard that your social media behavior can affect your personal injury claim. Is this really true? Can the number of pictures you post, or even the emojis you choose, actually have a bearing on a personal injury trial? There’s no simple answer, but your social media behavior can affect your outcome, especially if your case goes to trial. Here’s what you need to know.

For most of us, using social media is a part of everyday life. When something new or exciting happens, we think of posting it to our network of virtual friends. If you’ve been in a car accident, you may want to post about the damage, your injuries, or even assure everyone that you’re okay. However, there are a few compelling reasons why you should think twice about what you post.

The Defense Can Use It Against You

When the police arrest people, they read them their rights: “everything you say can and will be used against you.” While these words apply to criminal trials, civil matters follow the same rule.  The defense – usually lawyers for an insurance company – will do anything they can to avoid paying out on a claim, or at least try to pay as little as possible. Here are a couple of examples of how social media use could work against you:

  1. An accident leaves you in severe and chronic back pain. A few weeks later, you go out with family and friends, and post a picture of your group having fun. The defense attorneys pull this photo into evidence, claiming that someone that happy couldn’t be in the pain you describe.
  2. Following a serious accident, you post periodic updates about your recovery. Between descriptions of doctor’s appointments and tests, you say that you’re on the mend and feeling better every day. Defense attorneys may use this to say that your “pain and suffering” isn’t as bad as you make it out to be.

The reality is that we use social media to put our best face forward. We often paint a pretty picture for family and friends, while we’re in pain or suffering on the inside. Unfortunately, our social media descriptions and accounts are admissible in court – and often hurt our own cases.

What About Privacy?

You might object to this notion, saying that your social media accounts are private. The truth is, if an attorney can access your profile, they can use the information they find in it. That’s why it’s important to check your privacy settings and be diligent about your friend’s list, especially while a case is pending. Don’t accept any new friend requests from people you don’t recognize – it could be a defense attorney attempting to access your profile.

In sum, your social media use could greatly affect the outcome of your case. Always set your accounts on private and monitor your friends closely. While a case is pending, you might want to consider staying off your accounts altogether. For more assistance about appropriate social media use, talk to your attorney.