Never Post Accident Details on Social Media
For many people, the ability to air their most personal secrets on Facebook, Twitter and other social media appears to bring immense pleasure and satisfaction. We realize that many people never give a second thought to who might read these private entries or what it all could lead to. Most of these posts are harmless and cause no lasting damage. However, when the people who write them go into detail about recent accidents in which they’ve been involved, the story is often quite different and not in a very good way.
If you suffered no significant injury in the accident and have no intention of following up in any way, it probably makes no difference. If, on the other hand, you plan to make a personal injury claim, a tell-all social media post could do your case immeasurable harm. Making these entries could make you feel better and might even give you some street cred among your friends. Your personal injury case, however, is sure to take a hit.
If you’ve suffered personal injury in an accident, you must take great pains to avoid:
- Posting pictures of the accident’s aftermath. Keep to yourself any photos that show the condition of your car or illustrate your bruised and battered body. You might think that pictures of the harm you’ve suffered would help your case, not hurt it. However, if a friend should post an inquiry concerning your condition and you make the mistake of responding with “I’m doing better now,” or “I’ll be fine in no time,” you may have quashed your chances for receiving compensation.
- Deleting or taking down a post that you’ve already made describing any part of the accident. It may seem entirely innocent at the time, but others could see it as destroying evidence or having something to hide. Regardless of how much you might regret having made that post, you really need to leave it up once you’ve done the deed. Just refrain from posting anything else about the accident.
- Ignoring your privacy settings. We recommend that all social media users keep their social media profiles at the highest possible privacy level. Even when they do, however, it’s no guarantee that others won’t be able to see their posts. Defense attorneys and insurance companies will do their best to gain access in any case, even when you’ve restricted entry to no one other than your friends.
- Accepting friend requests from people with whom you are not familiar. Anyone you friend will have free access to posts that might be better kept away from prying eyes. Insurance companies and defense attorneys have been known to try this means of gaining access to information that you wouldn’t want them to have. For your own safety and the sake of your personal injury case, the fewer Facebook friends you have, the better.
How Insurance Companies Use Social Media to Deny Your Claim
In the interest of maintaining a healthy financial bottom line, insurance companies have a vested interest in denying as many claims as they can. When they can’t reject one out of hand, they will take the next best route of attempting to pay as little as possible. To discredit both you and your claim, they will likely attempt to access your social media accounts.
Not everyone is aware of it, but defense attorneys are entirely within their rights to use this means of gathering evidence about your case. The information they seek could come from your timeline posts, the pictures you post and online conversations you have with your friends. They will have no compunction against using anything you publicly post in relation to your accident as evidence against you.
Furthermore, if research should prove that you tweeted or texted a friend just seconds before the mishap occurred, this could serve as prove of inattention and consequent culpability on your part. Of course, any video you might post of yourself dancing at a club or running a marathon within days of having received your alleged injury could put the lie to your claim entirely.
If you have suffered harm in an accident and are honestly unsure of what is and is not safe to post on social media, do nothing until you’ve spoken with a personal injury attorney. The lawyers at Gregory & Waldo are familiar with the ways in which thoughtless online posts can wreak havoc with a personal injury case. Don’t let an honest attempt to impress your friends or seek their sympathy put the kibosh on your chances to obtain a favorable settlement. Call Gregory & Waldo instead for help.