Social Media and Your Personal Injury Case

The Pew Research Center conducted a study of all online adults regarding their social media use. They found that eight out of ten American adults have used social media websites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn at some point. Social media websites have provided a lot of additional connection to people within and beyond our normal social circles. They bring people together from across the globe and allow old friends to keep up with one another effortlessly. Many individuals use social media as part of their daily lives to communicate with friends, family, coworkers, and the world at large. But there are negative consequences to using social media as well.

Many social media sites have become much more than places for pictures and chats – they provided news and information that is relevant to various parts of our lives. According to Pew, over half of Americans relied on social media as a news source during the 2016 presidential primaries, as controversial as that may now be. But any personal injury attorney in Las Vegas Nevada would urge caution on excessive use if you’re in the middle of a personal injury lawsuit.

People can’t seem to stop using social media. It’s unsurprising given how useful it has become. Still, the major input basic users are contributing is their own personal information. The Pew poll also found that approximately two in three adults have an account on some social media platform. They range so extensively, that could mean a person has a profile on behalf of their pet or in order to seek employment. No matter what the platform, Americans are using social media quite frequently to share quite a bit of personal information. Most of the time this is harmless, but in some circumstances, it can be very detrimental to your goals.

Personal Injury and Social Media

Personal injury is a part of tort law in which an individual seeks compensation from another individual or group who they believe to be responsible for their injuries. There are many moving parts in personal injury law, including:

  • The origin of injuries
  • The nature of injuries
  • The circumstances surrounding the incident
  • The direct cause of the incident
  • Whether the injured party had sufficient warning of potentially dangerous circumstances
  • Who was actually at fault for the incident and subsequently the injuries

People are often happy to share mundane details of their lives, such as what flavor of ice cream they are eating. When something traumatic occurs, such as an injury, they are all the more likely to want to share it with their social network. Due to the increase in use and connectivity on social media, anonymity has all but gone out the window. Not only do people know who owns each profile, everyone is paying attention and able to see evidence of what you have shared. While before, making a joke out loud may become hearsay, a joke online may become evidence for a court of law. Speak to your lawyer for specifics as it pertains to your case.

Recording Your Injuries

Individuals who have been injured in an incident that is related to an open insurance or personal injury claim should be extremely careful about what they put on their social media. More and more, large companies and aggressive lawyers are scouring social media for any scrap of data they can possibly use against the plaintiff. Even something that seems innocent may be twisted into a plausible accusation of fraud. Unfortunately, once the post is made or the message sent, that data no longer belongs to the user. Everything that is on a site belongs to the site itself and is accessible to whomever the site believes should have it, including third parties. This means that insurance companies may request data from social media sites regarding posts that they believe are related to the case.

Scanning the internet is a standard part of insurance adjusters’ and defense attorneys preparation for cases. They can even use information that was available before the incident against you. For example, if you have an image of you participating in a physically demanding activity, such as rock climbing, the defense attorney may suggest you sustained your injuries doing that instead of during the incident in question. Images, references, or jokes to partying, deep emotions, previous injuries, locations, plans, etc. can be twisted into something much more than it was. Some apps even have geolocation aspects, such as “checking in,” which provides real-time data on a person’s location.

Suggestions For Personal Injury Victims

Though it may seem like you have little control over what’s on the internet, there are some things you can do to try to protect yourself during legal and insurance processes:

  • Don’t post!
    For the duration of the process, don’t post anything on social media. Don’t comment on anything, like any posts, even be careful scrolling. Ask the people in your life that might post about you to refrain for the time being in case anything they say may be construed as problematic for case. If you feel you will have difficulties managing this, consult with an accident attorney.
  • Increase your security settings
    Go through the long list of security options and choose the most restrictive in whatever categories are available. Suggest your closest friends do the same so that their posts about you are hidden.
  • Do NOT delete previous posts
    Though you may think it’s a good idea to hide any previous posts you think may jeopardize your case, remember that nothing is ever really deleted from the internet. The site will have archives of your pictures, posts, and other actions (even the ones you wouldn’t usually think about). Deleting anything may make it seem especially suspicious and could even be considered tampering with evidence. Contact a lawyer for more information about deleting previous posts.
  • Do not accept unfamiliar friends
    You should never do this, but especially when there is a legal battle or ongoing discussions with insurance companies, be sure not to accept a friend request from anyone you do not know. Insurance representatives or someone on the defense team may set up a fake profile to try to get access to your information.
  • Remember
    Even if you are not lying at all and “have nothing to hide,” you do have things to hide! You just can’t think of them because you’re innocent! Even innocent behavior can be twisted around and used against you.

Seek Legal Advice in Personal Injury Cases

Whenever you are involved in conversations with insurance companies or are taking legal action in the form of a personal injury suit, listen to your attorney! They understand the process and are likely to have seen your circumstances before. They know the possibly devastating consequences that can result from recklessness online. Seek an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to help you through this complex process. Speak to one of our attorneys at Harris & Harris Injury Lawyers.

Representing injured victims throughout Nevada, Utah, Arizona and California, Harris & Harris Injury Lawyers is ready to represent you! Give us a call now by dialing (702) 384-1414 or contact us online.

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