The world is online. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and other social media sites are, for many people, the modern equivalent of a diary. When your real life includes a personal injury claim, it’s likely you will want to include that online as well. But, as an Atlanta personal injury attorney will tell you, careless use of social media can seriously damage your case. Perhaps in ways you didn’t even think about.
Social media can undermine your case by making it appear you are not hurt. If you have suffered an injury, your ability to participate in normal daily activities will in some way be affected. Acting contrary to this will make a jury question the extent of your injury – or whether it even happened. Posting photos of yourself taking part in sports or exercise is a classic mistake.
The activity shared on social media may seem unrelated to your injury. However, your case may still be jeopardized. For example, say you’ve broken your leg and are experiencing pain and suffering. Then, after your injury, you go to the beach during your recovery time. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with this. You may relax under the sun the entire time, and that doesn’t mean you weren’t injured. However, the defendant’s attorney will almost certainly jump on this. Even if the photos you post are of you getting a tan, it paints a bad image. The opposing counsel could speculate that you also surfed while at the beach but didn’t post those pictures. Bottom line: don’t open the door to anything that could raise questions or back you into a corner.
This applies to emotional injuries too. If you’re experiencing depression after an accident or workplace injury, the other attorney will look for clues you’re not suffering. A clue may not be an obvious photo of you out on the town with friends. Your status updates on Twitter or Facebook could make it appear that your emotional injuries are minimal or non-existent. Again, don’t post anything that will cause a jury to question you.
There are other less obvious ways you could damage your claim. When you are suing for a monetary award, you must be discrete about it. Posting something like, “I’m gonna be rich!” or “Those guys at (company) will pay!” creates a negative impression with juries. Your social media history could also undermine your credibility. If you’ve posted anything that makes you appear dishonest or calls your character into question, the defendant may use it. Being on your best online behavior is a must, but it doesn’t start on the day of your injury. It applies to your entire internet profile and history.
So, what should you do with your social media accounts after an injury? It may be tempting to suspend all of them. Do not do this. Deleting your accounts will make you appear like you are hiding something. If you have posted about your case or posted something that could be used against you, do not remove it. Deleting it or trying to cover it up will look even worse. Tell your family and friends to avoid posting anything about you or your injury. Even something relatively innocent can be misinterpreted or invite further investigation.
Lastly, be careful with your electronic communications. This is less about social media, and more about email, texting, phone calls, and other forms of contact. Limit what you say about the accident regardless of whether it’s over email, over the phone, or on social media.
TALK TO AN ATLANTA PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY ABOUT YOUR ACCIDENT
The best step anyone can take after an accident or injury is to retain a lawyer. Your lawyer is a partner in your case who will fight for the compensation you deserve. This means you have to work with your attorney in return. Listen to the advice of counsel when it comes to your social media presence. It will make recovery for your injuries much more likely. If you’ve been injured, speak to a dedicated Atlanta personal injury attorney at Schneider Hammers today.