Logging onto your social media accounts and describing an accident may seem like a harmless interaction with friends and family members. It is common, however, for an insurance company to use a client’s social media activity as evidence against him or her during a personal injury claim. Be careful about what you put on social media during an ongoing case. What you post could turn into evidence against you and your personal injury lawyer later.
Photos of You Out With Friends
One of the most common ways an insurance company uses a client’s social media activity is to prove that the accident or injury is not impacting the victim as drastically as he or she claims. An insurance company can do this by using information you reveal online that shows you are still hanging out with friends, going to restaurants or bars, and generally enjoying life.
Avoid posting photos of you outside of your home or hanging out with friends. Tell your friends not to tag you in these types of photos, either. Pictures of you enjoying your life after an accident can serve as direct evidence against you if you are trying to seek damages for physical pain and emotional distress. A jury will not look on your situation as sympathetically if you are claiming lost quality of life but posting pictures of you having fun.
Checking in at different locations on Facebook or Instagram can have the same effect as pictures of you enjoying yourself. Location check-ins can show an insurance company that you are not sitting at home recovering from your injuries, as you claim to be or as a doctor recommended, but that you are out and about. Checking in at a local bowling alley, for example, will not look good if you are filing an injury claim for a broken arm. Avoid adding your location to anything you post, as well as check-ins at local restaurants or events.
Eyewitness Stories That Contradict Your Testimony
Another risk that comes with social media use after an accident is comments from family and friends who were part of the same accident contradicting your story. If your friend was also in the car with you in a car accident and posts a different version of events than what you told the insurance company, for example, the insurer could use this to undermine your reliability. This can make your testimony less valuable during a case, as the courts will see you as an unreliable witness.
Status Updates Saying How You Would Spend a Settlement
Do not post on social media to talk about the money you are pursuing – especially to mention how you plan on spending a settlement if you win. Dreaming about buying a brand new sports car with a personal injury settlement on your Twitter account could serve as evidence against you. An insurance company could use this to prove that you do not need the money you are pursuing for a real reason, such as to pay your bills or medical expenses, but that you wish to use it frivolously. This could reduce your final compensatory award.
How You Can Protect Yourself During a Case
It is important to protect yourself as the plaintiff of a personal injury case in West Virginia by staying off of social media. If you must use it, be extremely careful what you say and post on social media accounts. Anything posted – even with privacy settings in place – can serve as evidence against you during your case. Something you believed would not hurt your case can be twisted around and used against you.
The best way to protect yourself is by not posting anything to social media at all while your case remains ongoing. No matter how careful you are, an insurance company can take your words or photos out of context. With your financial recovery on the line, take a break from social media until your lawyer resolves your case. For more advice about how to build a stronger personal injury claim, contact an attorney near you.