Tips on what to do and what not to do on social media when you’re in personal injury litigation
You were in an accident. Naturally, you want to post about it to your friends and family on social media. DON’T. As celebrities and politicians have very publicly found, a single tweet or Facebook post can turn things sideways in an instant. Even if you think your accounts are private and only visible to family and friends, the reality is that there is no true online privacy.
An ill-thought Instagram post or reactionary tweet can have significant consequences on your personal injury case. Insurance companies and defense lawyers know that claimants will unthinkingly turn to social media to share their accident experiences, and that’s one of the first places they’ll look when it comes to settling claims.
But social media isn’t all bad, and it can help you out if you use it wisely. To help you navigate your social media activities after an accident, we’ve compiled a few do’s and don’ts:
- Admit liability. Regardless of who’s at fault, avoid saying that you “wrecked,” “smashed,” or “crashed” your car, as it automatically gives you ownership of the action. Even saying things like “I’m sorry I left the house that day,” can be construed the wrong way by someone else.
- Discount the severity of your injuries. If you’ve been hurt, you’ve been hurt. Posting that you’ll be okay or that things aren’t as bad as you thought may make your friends and family feel better, but it also hurts your settlement.
- Trash-talk the other party (including insurance companies and legal firms). This only damages your character and gives the other party reason to suspect your motives.
- Post “sympathy” images. Posting images of your injuries or damages can actually work against you and make you look like you’re only in this for the money.
- Stay quiet. Don’t post anything about how you’re doing, or what you’re doing, even if it has nothing to do with your accident. If you’re seeking compensation for medical claims, but your Instagram account is full of recent skiing posts, you’ll definitely hurt your settlement.
- Look for witnesses (one exception to the above). BUT BE VERY CAREFUL about how you ask. For example, “Looking for anyone who may have seen an accident at the corner of Shelmore and Point Pleasant on January 30th at around 5:30PM.” Just the facts, no comments or additional information about injuries, etc.
- Do a little sleuthing. Investigate the online personas of the other parties involved, and look for any posts about your accident. (This is exactly what they’ll be doing to you.)
- Vet any potential witnesses. Just like you’ll be investigating the other party in your accident, use social media to check out any potential witnesses that come forward and make sure they’re credible.
If you have been in an accident, always seek a medical exam to rule out any injuries. If you have been injured in an accident, contact us for a free case evaluation.