When you have been injured in an accident, it is only natural to want to get back to your normal life as quickly as possible. If you’re like many people, that means sharing your life with your family, friends, and followers on social media. However, this could potentially damage your case in court if you are seeking a settlement for your injuries. Here’s what you need to know about how social media can impact your case and what you can do to protect yourself.
Before The Incident Profile Information
Depending on the nature of your case, the opposing attorneys may request to see your social media posts from well before the accident ever occurred. While this may not seem to be relevant to your case, your past posts could cast doubt on your character. For example, if you posted a tweet scoffing about getting out of a speeding ticket, the attorneys could use it to claim that you think of yourself as being above the law. It could also point to reckless driving behavior, which could have put some of the blame on you for the accident.
Around The Time Of The Accident
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An attorney will also look at your social media posts during the specific time period in which the incident took place. Social media posts are typically time-stamped, so you could be held partially responsible for an accident if you left a comment on a friend’s photo at the time the accident occurred. If you were paying attention to your phone rather than your surroundings, you may not be able to blame the accident entirely on the other party. This can result in a reduced settlement for you.
In The Aftermath
Particularly in personal injury cases, an attorney will be looking at your posts following the accident. They’ll be scouring your social media profiles for any evidence that your injuries are not as severe as you are making them out to be. For example, if you are claiming severe back pain and limited mobility, a check-in at the gym or photo of your family at a ski resort will likely cast doubt on your claims. Even if you were only doing gentle physical therapy exercises or watching your kids ski from the safety of the lodge, the opposing attorneys will try to manipulate the evidence to paint you in a negative light.
Can It Be Used Against You In A Personal Injury Case?
Here in the state of Florida, courts have established that social media posts are generally admissible as evidence, provided that they are relevant to proving a material issue in the case. This is especially true of any posts on your profile that are made available to a public audience. Even if your posts were made only to a private group of friends or family members, it is still possible for them to be discoverable if the other attorney can prove that they will be relevant to the case.
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Posts that other people make about you will likely not be admissible. This is because the content could be considered hearsay, as it is coming from an outside source. Because of this, it may or may not be credible, so the court is unlikely to allow it. Any content that you created yourself, though, may be admissible at trial. According to the National Association of Attorney’s General, some types of social media evidence are “self-authenticating” and require no extrinsic evidence of authenticity before admission.
Protecting Yourself From Social Media Mistakes
In general, it is best not to post anything on social media that is directly related to your case. This can include details regarding the accident, comments on your medical diagnosis, and information regarding any private discussions you have with your personal injury attorney. What about general posts relating to your lifestyle, though? This is where it gets a bit trickier. Even a seemingly innocent post of you having an enjoyable day with your loved ones can be damaging in the hands of a ruthless attorney. Until your case is resolved, it is often best to simply avoid posting on social media altogether after a car crash. It’s a small price to pay to ensure you are able to get favorable results you deserve in court.
To help avoid making mistakes online, get in touch with Andrew Pickett.
My team and I can help you navigate these complicated waters to ensure you don’t inadvertently jeopardize your case. Contact us today for a free consultation.