There are so many situations where people sabotage themselves by innocently sharing too much online. In some cases, it may involve an employee getting busted by their employer for playing hooky after posting pics from a baseball game during working hours, but in other instances the stakes can be even greater. In a personal injury case, if you’ve allegedly injured your knees and have difficulty walking, it’s hard to explain the photos on Instagram of you smiling with your latest marathon medal. Likewise, if you’ve been involved in a case where it was alleged that you were under the influence, it’s not a good idea to have pictures of you partying with friends.
Social media accounts could be weapons used against you in your personal injury case. Defense attorneys and insurance adjusters know that social media sites are treasure troves of information. They often utilize posts to diminish or destroy a case. Brad Parker remembers a particular case where his client, a woman in her mid-60s, was seriously injured but was an extremely positive person with a sunny outlook on life who believed her faith would carry her through her injuries. “My client’s posts on social media were overall cheery in tone despite her situation. The defense tried to use those positive traits against her. It really hurt her case, and we really had to fight to resolve the issue,” Brad says.
Brad says, “My advice is always to avoid posting ANYTHING.” If not willing to do so, here are some tips when it comes to social media:
- Remind your social media friends not to post about or tag you in messages, photos or videos. Use the same guidelines for your friends’ posts as your own: if your friend wouldn’t say it directly to the opposing attorney about you, don’t let your friend post it. This includes photos and videos. Monitor your friends’ social media sites.
- Check your privacy settings! Nothing you post on the Internet is really private. Computer hacking is a lucrative industry. If you feel compelled to post, and out of an abundance of caution, set your privacy settings to limit which friends see your posts. Be advised though, this is never foolproof.
- Don’t accept “Friend” requests from people you don’t know. Consider that Facebook now has more than 500 million users and that there are more than 100 million registered Twitter users. It is not unreasonable that a friend request from someone you don’t know could well be an insurance adjustor, investigator or defense attorney attempting to find damaging evidence to use against you.
- Don’t post anything that you wouldn’t say directly to the opposing attorney: The best approach is to treat your social media posts the same way you would treat comments you would say directly to the opposing party. Don’t post or say anything, or post a photo or video, about your accident that you wouldn’t say directly to the opposing attorney.
- Google yourself and attempt to remove any information that may reflect badly on yourself.
- Be aware of tracking apps and location posts. Tracking apps can be used to discredit your version of the events leading up to the accident, even if you were merely confused or mistaken about the exact moment something happened. Check-ins on Facebook, Foursquare and other sites can show that you’re participating in activities that contradict the injuries you’re claiming. For example, if you’re claiming you have limited mobility, you shouldn’t check in at your spinning class. Location posts can count as evidence against you.
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At Parker Law Firm, our experienced personal injury lawyers believe people matter. We are committed to our clients, not case numbers, and we believe in the power of the civil justice system. With years spent both representing accident victims and participating in the state legislative process, our founder, Brad Parker, has developed a deep understanding of the law and gained unique experience that helps him get results for his clients.