Social media impacts anything and everything around us today. We casually post our favorite pictures on Instagram, update our Facebook statuses to reflect where we are and what we are doing at any given moment, and tweet our comments for the whole world to see. The main problem arises due to oversharing. Not only does this habit of ours reveal too much about us but it can actually have a serious impact on several aspects of our lives.
Even legal matters cannot escape social media’s overpowering grasp. If social media is used smartly that rarely happens, it works as a pool of resources that might help in speeding up the process of reaching a resolution. It is often used to investigate plaintiffs, defendants, witnesses, experts, attorneys, jurors, judges and other parties related to law. It is a given that anything you post on the Internet has the power to affect your case as it can be used as a strong evidence against you. The courts give equal value to the Social media just like any other evidence. Normally, for the court to accept an electronic piece of evidence, the information from social media should be relevant to the case and 100% authentic. Such information holds greater value to any hearsay stuff.
The even normal extent of sharing on social media can make a huge difference in terms of getting the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses when it comes to personal injury cases. In short, what you say or do online can be used effectively against you to dispute a personal injury claim.
Insurers often hunt down the internet in the name of investigating a claim. Social media posts can be presented in a real twisted manner to nullify your version of events or even defaming you to some extent. More and more online photos and posts are being used as evidence in court. It may cast doubt on your version of events, your character and even the nature or extent of your injuries. Moreover, social media sites keep a record of the exact date and time you posted that information. Thus, such information is more than valuable to defense attorneys and insurance companies.
To save your personal injury claims, you can close or deactivate your social media accounts. You might also tighten the privacy settings of your accounts.
This way you can limit the discovery of negative evidence that comes in the form of social media.
Here are 5 basic Ways in which Social Media Can Ruin Your Claim:
Photographs contradicting the facts stated by you
Certain times photographs of your vehicle or the other party’s vehicle might inadvertently contradict information provided by you in your claim. An expert defense lawyer might get the scope of using those pictures as actual evidence to deny or reduce your claim.
Sharing too much of information
Sharing your immediate feelings when you are in a state of vulnerability after being in an accident can be dangerous. Anything you say or express in excess can be misinterpreted. For instance, too much remorse can be misread as an admission of fault! So think before speaking in front of others.
Tweeting a message or posting a picture on Facebook or Instagram might contradict the information about the accident. Certain posts might contradict the information you supplied when you filed your claim. An insurance adjuster might use this loophole as foolproof evidence against your claim.
Derogatory comments or messages
Apparent derogatory comments or messages posted by you or friends on social media can actually be used to create a bad image of you. Your character might get questionable as a person and as a driver. Certain messages that were posted from a safe space with a sense of little humor might be twisted by the opposition to be presented as something disrespectful.
Tracking of whereabouts
Certain insurance companies cannot just take it easy and might go out of their way to track your location after an accident. It can be done through social media platforms. Virtual platforms such as Foursquare and Yelp include information about a person’s latest whereabouts. An insurance adjuster might find out about your recent participation in extreme sporting activities after your injury claims. However, the truth might be that you had just been a passive spectator. But, the insurance company and your opposition party shall not leave this stone unturned! They are too well-versed to use it as a reason to deny or reduce your claim.
Here are certain examples of the types of posts that may impact a personal injury claim:
- Photos or videos might show that you engaged in physical activity, like participating in a marathon or a dancing event which can be used to refute the injuries you claim to have suffered due to the recent accident.
- Certain status updates that imply your engagement in activities that do not go well with your claim of your injuries or required treatment.
- Certain social media posts might unintentionally cast significant doubt as to whether you were partially responsible for the accident due to negligence such as drinking and driving.
- There are many Internet tracking applications that can be used to disrepute your version of the sequence of events that led up to your accident that resulted in your injury.
- Many times, the rules of evidence might gradually find written social media postings as inadequate or baseless. However, online pictures and posts certain times act as hard evidence that is difficult to discredit. Things get worse when the posts are found on many of your social media sites.
Thus it is incredibly important for you to take steps toward protecting your online identity and social media accounts in order to proceed with your claim effectively. You shall be required to prevent yourself from posting anything related to your accident. In fact, you might be needed to delete posts and messages that could be used to limit your claim.