Fair or not, almost every move you make after filing an insurance claim or lawsuit can be scrutinized. The insurance company or defense counsel might hire a private investigator to discreetly follow you around to try to gather evidence that’s harmful to your personal injury case. Unfortunately for personal injury victims, that’s not all the other side can do.
If you have any type of social media account—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat, to name a few—you are at risk of imperiling your personal injury case without even knowing it. That’s because plaintiffs’ social media accounts are discoverable in a personal injury lawsuit.
What is Discovery?
Discovery is the process in most civil court actions wherein both sides request information from the other side that may be pertinent to the case. This could include emails, text messages, and other records of correspondence. You can bet that the defense will request access to your social media accounts.
Things Aren’t Always as They Seem
A snapshot of nearly anything can be taken out of context and twisted into something that doesn’t accurately represent reality. Facebook posts and other activities on social media are textbook examples of that statement.
After a catastrophic car crash, for instance, you might be recovering from multiple fractures and broken bones. You might spend a few days or weeks in the hospital and then get discharged to continue your recovery at home. After the horrific time you spent recovering, wouldn’t you want to get out of your house at some point? One would assume that’s only natural. As the fresh sunlight hits your face, you crack a smile for the first time in a while.
Your loved ones are thrilled to see you basking in the sunlight and decide to update your social media friends about your recovery. They snap a picture of you enjoying the outdoors. Harmless enough, right? During your personal injury trial, the defense shows the jury that picture and argues that you wouldn’t be smiling if your injury was as bad as you claimed.
Any reasonable person who knows you and the extent of your situation would know that the defense’s position is ludicrous, but you and your attorney don’t always have every opportunity to get the jury to see your side. Even the best personal injury attorney cannot always explain away pictures that appear to undercut the plaintiff’s claims.
Should You Delete Social Media Altogether?
That’s entirely up to you. We don’t always recommend our clients do away with their social media accounts entirely, but we strongly encourage proceeding with caution. For starters, you should not post anything about your case. Even content that isn’t related to your case should give you pause before posting. Ask yourself how the jury would see this post in light of your injury and your recovery timeline.
If you receive any friend requests after your injury, do not accept them. While preparing for your case, change the privacy settings on your social media accounts to limit access to your posts. However, you should refrain from deleting anything before consulting with your lawyer. Deleting posts after receiving a request from the defense could be seen as destroying evidence.
It’s not fair that the defense in your personal injury case can take photos out of context and spin them to the jury, but it’s the reality you must deal with. Simply put, not being careful with your social media after filing a personal injury lawsuit can put you and your attorney in a poor position.
We know how overwhelming it can be to recover from a serious personal injury and worry about the mounting medical bills. On top of everything, you can’t work and earn money. Put your worries on us and let us guide you to a better tomorrow. Get in touch with our team today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.