If you use social media, you’re very used to seeing the lives of your friends and family unfold on a daily basis. Sometimes you probably even unfollow some of them because they’ve posted one too many food pics or errand updates. It can just become mundane. Then you have friends who may be going through something a little more dramatic because they’ve suffered some sort of injustice that you can relate to.
Sometimes these events can involve a legal issue such as a serious personal injury. Photos of a damaged vehicle, a product that caused a trip to the emergency room, or a broken leg in a cast from an angle clearly indicating your buddy is stuck in bed for a while. It’s never a good idea to post an injury or the potential cause on social media where it can be seen, shared, or screenshot to pass around. Once it’s out there you can’t get it back and in the wrong hands, it can ruin your injury claim.
Investigators are paid to make claims go away
Insurance companies have private investigators on staff solely to look for anything that can be used to help them save money. The two ways they do that are by getting your case dismissed or by finding reasons to reduce a settlement offer. An easy way to look for evidence that will provide those results is by combing social media accounts. Even comments you may have made on a friend’s post that may appear as if you’ve engaged in reckless behavior can be used against you.
Think before you post, or it can cost you
Even if you post something that you think better of and delete 30 seconds later, chances are that you can’t really get rid of it. A nifty little invention that pretty much anyone in the business of investigations knows about is the Wayback Machine. It comes in handy in litigation more often than you know. This website has archived over 468 billion web pages.
Simply put, if someone has archived a webpage they can search a date range to see what amounts to screenshots of everything that was on that page on any given day.
What you say to others can come back to haunt you
The best advice you can take away is to never discuss your case or injuries with anyone but your personal injury lawyer. Unless your attorney tells you it’s okay to discuss something, you are being deposed, or need to testify (which your attorney will prepare you for), assume that anything you say may be posted – and that it can be used against you:
- Running into a friend you haven’t seen in a while as you’re hobbling around picking up prescription medication can end with you being tagged in a Facebook check-in. A post saying “It was great catching up with you!” that shows you shopping at Walmart when your leg is in a cast can cause questions about the level of your pain and suffering.
- Discussing the accident details with your family member who was in a recent accident at the same intersection where you were injured can lead to social media posts or comments about known problems with the intersection. This could be used to show that you had prior notice of certain dangerous conditions and you had a duty to use more caution.
- Comments you made to witnesses at the accident scene can end up on social media and harm your case by contradicting your account of events that you may not have had a clear recollection of when you made them. Maybe you made a comment in the heat of the moment like “I’m going to own his house when this is over,” which can be used to show you were looking for a large payday before knowing if you were seriously injured. Witnesses who use social media tend to post about any interesting event they encountered during the day and accidents turn into entertaining stories.
When you become injured at someone else’s hands and you choose to file a claim against them, the first thing they’re going to do is try to deflect blame. You both know who caused your injuries and who should pay for your lost wages, medical bills and other expenses. That’s why you need the Savannah and Atlanta personal injury lawyers at Harris Lowry Manton LLP.
Our legal team will aggressively pursue the maximum settlement you deserve, or take your case to trial when the negligent party is unreasonable. Schedule your free case evaluation today by calling our Atlanta office at 404-998-8847, our Savannah office at 912-417-3774, or we invite you to reach out to us through our contact page to tell us your story.
One of the nation’s top trial attorneys, Jeff Harris is an award-winning litigator who handles high-profile, complex cases across a wide variety of practice areas. He excels at securing justice for clients who have been seriously injured or killed, holding responsible parties accountable for their actions as well as their negligence.
Read more about Jeffrey R. Harris here.