Social media has become a major form of interaction within our society. Most people regularly use platforms like Facebook and Instagram to stay connected with family and friends, find out what is going on in their lives, and keep up with the latest news and events.
For the majority of people on social media, it is a fun way to connect with loved ones. Some people are clearly addicted and there are also those who use these platforms for nefarious purposes, but for most, it is a harmless way to pass the time. Things are different, however, if you are involved with a personal injury case.
What you may view as “harmless” social media activity during normal times can hurt you when you are pursuing a personal injury claim. If the other side gets a hold of your posts, they might twist your words around and take things out of context in order to damage your case. Remember, insurance companies want to pay you as little as possible for your injuries, and one of the strategies they use to accomplish this is to look for something damaging within your social media posts.
How Social Media Activity Can Harm Your Injury Claim
Imagine you just got into an auto accident in Mobile, AL. You were taken to the emergency room, and they treated your immediate wounds. Then they ran a bunch of tests, prescribed some medication for your pain, and scheduled a follow-up visit with the hospital to go over the test results. As soon as you get home, you post about the accident on your Facebook timeline.
Posting about the accident might seem like a natural thing to do, since this is a major event in your life that was probably at least somewhat traumatic. But in doing so, you risk saying things and posting photos that the other side could use against you.
For example, when your loved ones find out you were in an accident, one of the first things they might ask you is, “how are you doing?” At this point, you don’t really know how bad your injuries are, but you don’t want to worry them, so you respond with standard answers like “I’m fine” or “I’ll be okay”.
You might not think that there’s anything wrong with this type of interaction but think about how the other side might interpret it. They might use your optimistic statements to argue that your injuries are not as serious as you are alleging, or that you have not really experienced much (if any) pain and emotional trauma from the accident.
Things could really take a turn for the worse if you get into a social media conversation about who was at fault for the accident. For example, even if it is clear that the other driver crashed into you, you might want to give them some benefit of the doubt by saying “maybe I was driving a little too fast”.
A comment like that could be used by the insurance company to allege that you are at least partially at fault for the accident; and this could be a major problem, especially in a state like Alabama where they apply the contributory negligence doctrine to personal injury cases.
Under contributory negligence, an injured person can be barred from recovering compensation if they are found to be even 1% liable for the underlying accident. This is why it is important never to admit any kind of fault to anyone if you are involved in a vehicle crash.
Even if a social media post has little to do with the actual accident, it could still be used to damage your claim. Consider a post that shows you and your family enjoying a relaxing vacation in Mobile Bay or somewhere else along the Gulf Coast. Pictures of you smiling and having a good time could be used argue that your injuries are not all that serious, and that they have not negatively impacted your quality of life.
Why You Should Stay Off of Social Media While Involved in a Mobile, AL Personal Injury Case
You might be thinking that all of this is a good warning for other people, but this will not happen to you because you have strict privacy settings. This is very flawed thinking, because even if the insurance company investigators do not uncover your social media information, this information can still be discoverable at trial if the defense establishes that it is materially relevant to the case.
Because of the inherent danger that social media activity presents when someone is involved in a legal case, it is highly recommended that they suspend all activity until the case is concluded. It is also very important to tell family and friends not to tag them in any of their posts.
If you cannot quit social media entirely, then only use it to read news and view other people’s posts until your case is over. Do not post anything yourself, and do not comment on anyone else’s posts or stories.
Contact Experienced Mobile, AL Personal Injury Lawyers
When someone is involved in a personal injury case, there are a lot of potential pitfalls that the other side could use against them, and social media activity is one prime example of that. With so much at stake and so many ways that things can go wrong, it is wise to work with a seasoned attorney who can skillfully guide you through the process.
For strong legal guidance with personal injury claims in Alabama, contact Hedge Copeland today by calling (251) 432-8844 or sending us an online message. We look forward to serving you!