How Social Media Can Sabotage Your Personal Injury Case

Social media has become a big part of many of our lives. Frequently, many people use more than one social media platform to share thoughts, photos, and personal life updates. What may seem like a trivial or benign social media post, however, can have a severely detrimental effect on a future or current personal injury case.

The Impact of Social Media on a Personal Injury Case

The information you share on social media, no matter how insignificant it may seem to you, can harm your personal injury case.

Here are some of the ways in which social media can harm your personal injury case:

  • Example scenario – Statements Can Be Used Against You:
    • You were just in a serious car accident resulting in your recognizable car overturned on a local roadway.
    • Understandably, you want to notify friends and family that you made it through the trauma alive, and it seems easiest to just post on Facebook, so you don’t have to send numerous text messages.
    • So, you write a post that says: “Yes, that was my car overturned on the Route 13 S-curve, but I’m okay.” Or, you write: “I’m glad to be alive with only a few bumps and bruises” or something similar.
    • All too often injured people post on social media statements like those above.
    • While you want people to know you are alive or you want to calm the worries of others by making it seem like everything is fine, those statements can do significant damage to your potential personal injury case.
    • Why? Every statement you make, including social media posts, may be considered as an “admission” by you and therefore permissible evidence at court.
    • After the car accident, you go to the hospital and you have radiological studies done which reveal that you have suffered shoulder and back injuries that require surgery.
    • These problems DO NOT end up being “only a few bumps and bruises.”
    • The insurance company takes the position that you are exaggerating your condition which was “only a few bumps and bruises” per your own admission in your Facebook post shortly after the accident.
  • Example scenario – Loss of Attorney Client Confidentiality:
    • The communications (emails, telephone, text message, meeting, Zoom, letter, etc.) between you and your attorney are subject to special protections called privileged communications. This means that when you and your attorney speak about your case in a private setting, the details of those communications and advice your attorney provides are protected, confidential, and not permitted to be known to the other party in the case or their attorney.
    • If you share details of your attorney’s advice or information you shared with your attorney online though, it will no longer be considered protected or confidential.
    • Depending on the extent of what you post, you may be opening a door to the other party’s attorney asking you further information that he/she would have otherwise not been allowed to ask.
  • Example scenario - A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words:
    • You were injured in a car accident. Most hours of your days are spent bedridden and you have not been able to go to work. However, you don’t want to let your social media followers down with negative posts, so you regularly post pictures of you doing activities around the house appearing to be happy and pain-free.
    • Or, you were injured in a car accident, and while you are mostly bedridden and haven’t been to work, you had booked a non-refundable beach vacation before the accident. You decide to go on the vacation which involves long car or airplane rides. You are completely miserable most of the trip, but you “check-in” on social media to the beach, restaurant, or bar, or you post upbeat updates and photos of your trip.
    • These photos/posts on social media can do major damage to your personal injury case. While you can verbally try to explain at trial the misery you were in while on the trip, the jury is unlikely to award lost wage damages or pain and suffering damages to a person who states they cannot work yet can go on vacation. The defense will surely argue that your injuries are not as severe as you claim them to be. Regardless of your explanation at trial, when you post to social media do not forget a picture is worth a thousand words.

As much as we enjoy using social media, the fact is that your posts, “check-ins”, and photos can cause a plethora of problems for your personal injury case and severely jeopardize your chances of obtaining the compensation you may deserve Think before you post to social media, or better yet, don’t post at all. Once you are meeting with an attorney or in litigation, the law may forbid you from deleting posts or you may face sanctions in your case for deleting posts without proper preservation.

Reach Out to an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney to Discuss Your Case Today!

If you sustained injuries in an accident caused by another party’s negligence, the personal injury team at Hearne & Bailey, P.A. can assist you. Our team is backed by more than 25 years of experience helping clients obtain fair and just compensation.

Call our law office today at (410) 618-0903 to schedule a consultation.