Everyone wants to share their fun, cool, and exciting life experiences on Facebook. And while social media is a part of almost everyone’s life, sometimes even a good thing can become a source of contention. Facebook is a way to stay connected with old and new friends. It helps us stay up to day with family members and catch the latest news. On the flip side, some people may share their experiences on Facebook to vent. Others may even seek help or information on Facebook after an accident.
But, no matter what you’re posting, remember that it can pose a problem for anyone with a pending legal lawsuit. If you are involved in a personal injury lawsuit, you must be mindful about your posts. Even if you don’t have a pending personal injury claim, it can be a bad idea to post impulsively on Facebook.
Your Facebook post could negatively impact your personal injury case, especially if you mention any specifics of your case or share too many personal details. And if you have a public Facebook profile, anyone can see your activity. Whether intentionally or not, sharing too much might jeopardize your chance to win compensation for your injuries.
Please keep reading to learn more about why it pays to be cautious about what you post online.
Facebook Can Harm Your Ability to Recover Compensation for Denver Your Personal Injury Claim
Insurance companies and lawyers sometimes use social media as evidence against a personal injury claimant. What they want to find is a fraud – someone making a fabricated or exaggerated personal injury claim. They also seek evidence to blame the claimant and discharge any liability on the defendant.
But, never facebook tells the whole story. It can be the bane of your personal injury claim even if you think you’re something harmless.
There can be many other ways in which social media posts can contradict your claim. Any indication on a social media account of engaging in activities that would directly conflict with your testimony in a personal injury case could be used against you. That can lower or even eliminate your ability to receive compensation from a negligent party.
What Kind of Posts Can Jeopardize Your Claim?
- A status update or comment where you tell everyone how great you’re doing
- Any post that discusses recent physical activity you did, especially if you are suing for debilitating injuries
- Pictures or videos ( posted by your or someone else) of you doing physical activity, especially intensive activities that would be impossible with injures
- Any update, status, or comment that downplays or exaggerates your condition; can make you seem unreliable or inconsistent.
- Posting confidential settlement details
- Posting that you are at work while claiming lost wages
Put simply, what you post on social media can look bad to investigators. Even if there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for your post, they can only deduce conclusions from what they see.
Social Media Posts Are Admissible in Court
Some may not even be aware that their social media post are admissible in a court of law. Facebook and other social media posts can be used as evidence against you. This includes your content and comments, and posts from your friends and family.
The court could legally request information from your social media accounts, even if your settings are private. If you delete an account, a court order could summon you to reinstate the account with printouts of all activity from the account. Even permanently deleted accounts and their contents are recoverable.
Basically, anything you post or your friends and family post is admissible in court as evidence in your personal injury case. We generally classify social media posts as a “statement of a party.” Since you are a party to your case, any statement you make outside of the courtroom (i.e., social media) can be evidence in court, even against you.
Comments and Posts from Others May Also Be Admissible
Even posts that you didn’t post can damage your case. For example, if your friends or family members make a post discussing your injuries or the case in general, that might work against you. Additionally, comments on your post may be admissible evidence. Therefore, it behooves you to let your friends and family know to keep your case out of their posts. While it may seem like petty gossip, they don’t know that it can affect or ultimately threaten your claim.
Discriminate New Friend Requests Carefully
During your claim, if you start getting new friend requests from strangers you’ve never met in your life, it’s probably not a coincidence. Scrutinize new friend requests, and don’t accept anyone you don’t know personally. It may be an attempt from the other side to access your private information and content. It’s better safe than sorry in this type of situation.
You Could Accidentally Contradict Your Testimony in a Post
One of the biggest uses for Facebook and other social media platforms in a personal injury case is to find a contradiction in a given testimony. That would mean facing perjury charges if one made contradictory statements under oath.
You might post a picture of yourself doing certain activities that suggest your injuries aren’t as severe as you claim. Or a picture of you being out and about may infer you’re not as limited as you’ve stated. Photos and videos can be harmful because you don’t have the chance to give contextual info or explain them to the other party. They can only make conclusions from what they see.
Facebook Could Share Your Location
Facebook posts allow you to “check-in” at a restaurant or other location. Or, others may tag you in a post with the location. This could contradict your testimony or highlight that you’re more mobile and capable than you’ve asserted. For example, if you check in at a gym, the other party will undoubtedly wonder how injured you really are. In addition, other social media platforms sometimes automatically add location information. Therefore, make sure to double-check your settings and what you’re posting before you share.
Protect Yourself on Facebook
While using Facebook, you need to consider who can potentially see your profile. If you have a public profile, the defendant in your personal injury case and their attorneys can see your posts. Since they are looking for anything to diminish your credibility or the cause or severity of your injuries, you must post cautiously. Or, refrain from using social media altogether while your claim is ongoing. Laying low for a little while is a small price to pay for winning your personal injury claim in the end. It’s not worth throwing away your chance at fair compensation all because you posted something on Facebook.
Check Your Privacy Settings on Facebook
Whether or not you have an ongoing civil claim, you should consider what you post on any social media account. For example, your Facebook content reflects you and can help or hurt your reputation.
However, especially while you have a pending personal injury claim, try to limit the number of people who can access your Facebook profile. You can do so by going to your settings page and changing your profile to private. Doing so can protect you from the defendant’s attempt to discredit your credibility. Even if you have a private profile, that does not guarantee complete protection from the other party.
Moreover, the opposing party’s legal team may request a copy of your Facebook posts and profile during the discovery phase. That would entail any post you have made “private” or those that only friends and family are allowed to see.
If you are not cooperative during discovery, the opposing party may petition the judge to issue a court order for you to provide the information. If they show good cause, you’ll need to turn over the requested information, or you could potentially face contempt of court. In addition, the court can issue an order that requires you to reactive your Facebook if you have already deleted or deactivated it. Finally, they have the power to issue a subpoena to retrieve deleted profiles and that information in court.
Never Delete Anything From Your Social Media Accounts
If you already made a careless post on Facebook regarding specific activities, avoid deleting them or removing pictures. If you delete something you’ve already posted, that could be interpreted as tampering with evidence. The National Law Review states that purging information from your Facebook could be “spoliation.” Spoliation in civil litigation is when one side suspects or discovers that the other party has deliberately, negligently, or accidentally destroyed case evidence.
Best Course of Action for Your Social Media Accounts
Since you never know how your Facebook activity can affect your personal injury claim, the best thing to do is stop using it for a while. However, if you must use social media during your personal injury claim, ensure you refrain from mentioning anything related to your case.
How Can a Denver Personal Injury Lawyer Help Me?
If you suffered any injuries or losses and need to file a claim, consider consulting with an experienced Denver personal injury lawyer. A lawyer can provide legal assistance and guide you through the claims process. That will be your best chance at winning the fair compensation you deserve for your damages and losses.
We can help you gather evidence and will represent you aggressively in court. Our legal team s extensive experience and knowledge in handling personal injury cases, so we know how to build a strong case for you.
If you’ve already posted content on your Facebook that you’re unsure about, we can answer your questions.