Today I’ll share an example of how social media can negatively impact a personal injury claim or lawsuit. I’ll use a fictional example to demonstrate how easy it is for insurance adjusters to sink your case. It is surprising to many how photos or a simple text update can provide defense lawyers with the information they will use to deny your claim.
A common car accident scenario
Imagine for a minute; you’ve been in a car crash.
A driver headed the other way looked at her cell phone, crossed the centerline, and hit her vehicle head-on. Luckily, the other vehicle’s driver didn’t kill you, but you now have headaches and chest pain from the impact.
That was last fall.
Living your life after the crash
Fast forward to a few weeks ago, you’re at your cousin’s wedding.
Someone takes a picture of you dancing, having a good time.
You’ve been tagged in the photo, and it’s publicly available.
Using social media at your deposition
This morning, you’re giving a deposition, testimony in a court case about the crash and its impact on your life.
The defense lawyer asks you about the headaches.
You tell them they have happened every day, and they impact your life in ways large and small.
The defense lawyer pulls from his file a photograph.
It’s marked as a legal exhibit.
It’s a photo of you smiling and laughing at the wedding.
The lawyer asks,
Is that you in the picture?
Did you go to that wedding?
What did you do there?
Were you dancing?
How defense lawyers use social media posts
The law does not allow you to explain or offer context. You now realize that this lawyer intends to use that picture against you.
This lawyer may argue that you weren’t hurt in the crash because you couldn’t be out at your cousin’s wedding if you were hurt.
A hurt person cannot be found laughing or having a good time. Injured people can’t try to live a normal life with a defense lawyer.
The hard truth here is that anything on the internet that touches on your injury, accident, or recovery is fair game for the defense. Defense lawyers will try to use it against you if they can.
Anything that you post or that’s posted about you could potentially relate to your injuries or recovery. Your online life will be mined by defense lawyers and insurance adjusters. They will use what they find to try to prove that you were either not hurt or that you’re exaggerating your injuries.
Accident Investigations in the Age of social media
In years past, insurance companies would routinely hire investigators to come out to your neighborhood, and take photos of you walking the dog, or taking out your trash, but now they rarely need to, because people post so much of their life online.
It’s there for everyone to see.
So be careful with what you post and what you permit to be posted about you if you have an injury claim. Don’t talk about the crash itself. Avoid discussing fault or the circumstances around the crash. And make sure your privacy settings do not allow people who are not your friends to view your accounts.
Thank you for reading today’s article about how social media can ruin an accident lawsuit. Be careful about what you post and what you allow to be posted about you or your crush on the internet or social media. Remember that for as long as you have an active personal injury claim or lawsuit, insurance adjusters and defense lawyers are watching.
Contact Us Today
If you want to work with experienced Vermont, personal injury lawyer Drew Palcsik about your injury claim, feel free to call our office or send us a message using our contact form. We serve clients at Burlington, Middlebury, Vermont, and Plattsburgh, New York offices.