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How Social Media Can Affect Your Personal Injury Claim

August 24, 2022 Personal injury

Social media is everywhere in our world, and nearly all of us use it to some degree. Our social media profiles provide unique insights into our lives, and depending on how active a person is on social media, those insights may be limited or extremely broad. 

While we’re all aware that we should be mindful of how we present ourselves to the world on social media, being involved in a lawsuit can open up a person’s life to a higher level of scrutiny, for many reasons. This blog post highlights some specific ways social media can affect your claim in a personal injury lawsuit. 

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Social Media Can Become Evidence in a Personal Injury Case

In defending a social media case, insurance companies and their lawyers often make it a primary goal to discredit the plaintiff, which is done by thoroughly investigating the plaintiff’s lifestyle, social activities, and background. Social media is often a powerful tool in that investigation process, and insurance lawyers have become quite skilled at finding and viewing social media accounts, even when they are private. 

Once an insurance company has access to your social media profiles, their lawyers will sort through everything you’ve ever posted to see if they can find something that may weaken your case or strengthen their case. 

Here are some specific types of posts that can negatively affect your personal injury case: 

Posts about your accident 

Many accident victims like to post on social media to update their family and friends on life events, and a car crash is certainly a notable life event. However, if anything you’ve posted on the internet is inconsistent with what you told your insurance company, the company could use your posts against you to paint you as an unreliable or dishonest witness. Without a credible plaintiff, personal injury cases can become difficult to win. It’s a good idea to avoid posting details about your accident online. 

Conversations with “new” online friends

Insurance companies and their lawyers have been known to create fake profiles in order to gain access to private-facing social media profiles. While it’s generally a bad idea to accept friend requests from people you don’t know anyway, you should especially avoid accepting new friend requests while you’re involved in a lawsuit. 

Public posts of any nature

Statements and photos can be taken out of context, and in an insurance company’s efforts to discredit you, they will search through everything you’ve ever posted on the internet. For that reason, when a lawsuit begins, it’s a good idea to lock down your social media profiles, including past posts. If you do happen to post anything while the lawsuit is ongoing, those posts should be as private as possible. 

Posts that imply your physical condition

One of the most important parts of a personal injury lawsuit is proving damages, and in addition to attacking your credibility, an insurance company will attempt to minimize the damages they might have to pay out. If you’ve been affected by an accident, it’s important to avoid posting anything that might imply you’re in better shape than you are. For example, consider that you went to a gym to visit the smoothie bar. Posting that you are at the gym could be used against you in the future, since it implies that you could have been working out. 

Usage of social media can become a double-edged sword, as we’ve all become well aware. After you initiate a personal injury lawsuit, it’s important that you’re open and honest with your attorney about your online presence, as it’s easier to prevent issues than mitigate damages after issues have occurred. If you have any questions or would like to set up an appointment, contact a San Diego injury attorney today.