Making a personal injury claim is a very sensitive process. It takes time, knowledge and attention to details, from keeping records of anything related to the incident to being careful to how you talk about it with anyone. At the Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary, we have witnessed how using social media amidst a personal injury claim process can have negative effects.
The following information considers what you should know about how a social media post can affect your personal injury claim.
There are about 1.9 billion monthly active users on Facebook, 319 million monthly active users on Twitter, and over 500 million monthly active users on Instagram. With such figures, compounded with users of other social media platforms, it has become evident that social media is a very visible tool for managing information about your daily life. Social media posts can be held against you (witness the many cases where defamatory or libelous posts carried awards of over $100,000 to the plaintiff). Be super-careful of anything you post before and after a personal injury case is brought to a conclusion.
Restrict and filter your usage of social media
When you’ve got the urge to post on social media don’t act on it, instead, pause to think for a second. Can it be used against me in my personal injury case? If there is any doubt at all, don’t do it.
You don’t have to refrain from using social media altogether. However, make sure you don’t appear to be enjoying your idle time too much. Post photos of the spring blossoms in your garden; don’t post pictures of you trekking in the Appalachians.
Do not post anything directly related to your case
If you really want to share news of your personal injury with your online community, you can. But make sure you only explain you were injured and cannot discuss details – don’t add anything more.
Don’t post photos of the accident; don’t rant about the judicial system; don’t post pictures of you doing physical work if you are claiming physical injury. Don’t discuss fault in your personal injury.
We’ve made it a rule at the Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary to tell clients what they can and can’t reveal before and after their case reaches its conclusion. Remember: you cannot undo what you have done. You can delete the post, but it’s going to be too late. Several court decisions say that social media cannot be purged of inappropriate content; so, think of how a screenshot of a post that only existed for five seconds can live forever and destroy your claim.
Case in point: a Florida teacher had to return the settlement because he had disclosed its details to his daughter, who mentioned it on Facebook.
Make sure you don’t lose your phone or laptop
Why? You should secure your laptop or phone firstly because some random troll can post photos of an Austrian ski holiday on your Instagram. Secondly, protect your laptop or phone because the law or the insurer might see their loss as an obstruction of justice by trying to destroy evidence of your online activity.
If in doubt about anything you want to post, better talk to your personal injury attorney first. It’s better to be safe than sorry.