How to Manage Social Media Accounts During a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Learn how to prevent social media posts from hurting your position during a personal injury lawsuit.
These days, many people find it quite normal and natural to share the most personal details of their lives on social media. If you take a similar approach to social media, you may discover that your habits can come back to haunt you during a personal injury case. Social media posts are frequently included in discovery requests for all kinds of lawsuits, and if you have not been careful about what you post, you may end up handing the defense the very evidence they need to deny or reduce your compensation.
Fortunately, you can prevent this simply by changing your social media habits following an accident. Here are the most important tips.
Close your networks
The first thing you will want to do after suffering an injury in any kind of accident is close your networks. For example, on Facebook make sure that only your “friends” can see your content. This will guard against the possibility of a private investigator hired by the defendant’s insurance company reviewing your content as part of their personal injury surveillance efforts.
Inform contacts you will not be discussing your injuries
Because your social media accounts could be demanded during discovery, it is best not to discuss your injuries or your accident at all. You can tell your contacts that if they want to inquire after your health they should call or visit you in person. But even then, you should avoid discussing the details of the case.
Remove any old posts that could be detrimental
Social media is often used as a place to blow off steam, and many people have a few “rants” in their post history. In certain situations, such rants could hurt your case. For example, if you once posted a joke about needing to get hit by a bus to pay off your student loans…and then you actually did get into a bus accident and are now pursuing compensation for your injuries…this could raise doubts about the validity of your claim. You could be suspected of having some share of liability for the accident or of exaggerating your damages. It is best to simply remove any posts that could be misinterpreted. This should be done before officially filing your claim.
Avoid posting new content that could undermine your claim
If you are in severe pain after an injury, you obviously do not want to post pictures of yourself happily engaged in active pursuits like hiking, biking, waterskiing, etc. The defense could point to these pictures as evidence that you are not as severely injured as you claim.
Continue to use caution after the case is settled.
Some personal injury settlements come with confidentiality clauses. If you break confidentiality in any way you could end up losing the settlement. Therefore, it is best to continue keeping silent about your case on social media even after it has been resolved.