The Detriments of Social Media to a Wichita Falls Accident and Personal Injury Case
These days, social media is a significant part of just about everybody’s life. There’s no denying that. Social media has grown so big that for most it is a daily habit, and for some it is a very big part of their lives. Just about everyone has at least one social media account, but most have multiple accounts that they share information about their personal lives and daily activities through. While social media can absolutely be beneficial and be used in very good ways, unfortunately, using social media after a car accident in Wichita Falls, or elsewhere in Texas or Oklahoma, can be detrimental to and ultimately jeopardize your case.
If you have been involved in a car accident, or any other type of accident, in Wichita Falls, or anywhere in Texas or Oklahoma, speak with our Wichita Falls accident lawyer as soon as you can. Call us at 940-569-4000 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation. Our lawyer provides useful information that can help you avoid the common mistakes that may hurt your case, including why you should stay off of social media after a car crash. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t look at it, but you should avoid posting on it.
How Social Media Can Hurt Your Car Accident Case in Wichita Falls
Utilizing social media to keep family and friends up to date on their lives is something many people do, and it can seem innocent to keep them updated about your accident and your recovery. This openness is something we often take for granted, but it’s this very thing that could jeopardize your case. Because social media just seems to be what people do now, it can be hard to understand how posting on it after a car accident in Wichita Falls could hurt you in any way.
Here are the risks of posting on social media that you need to know so you don’t wreck your own case:
1. Your Social Media May not be as Private as You May Think
As we like to tell our kids here at the firm, if you wouldn’t want to show it to your grandparents, don’t put it on the internet. It’s important that people understand, once something is out there on the internet, it is out there forever. It doesn’t matter if your account is private or not. Someone somewhere can access it. So, do not put anything on there that you aren’t proud of because nothing you put online is entirely private.
Insurance companies have methods of obtaining copies of social media posts, even if they have been deleted. They are skilled at digging up information that can be used against you to deny or at least minimize your claim. Some insurance adjusters even go as far to send you, or even your friends and family, “friend” or “follow” requests in order to gain access to your online profiles.
Regardless of your privacy or security settings, your social media accounts and posts could be obtained. In some instances, defense attorneys will issue subpoenas forcing victims of accidents to turn over their account information providing total access to their social media accounts. So, your Facebook post, your tweet, your photos, or even your comments on other peoples’ posts can all potentially come back to haunt your personal injury trial.
2. Your Social Media Posts Could be Misinterpreted or Misconstrued
Whether your case goes to trial or not, you are going to have different people viewing all of the evidence and making decisions about the merits of your case. If it goes to trial, a jury will likely hear your case. If it doesn’t go to trial, it could be a mediator. In any case, these decision makers could misunderstand your social media posts, or make inferences about your photos.
For example, one time we had a client was who injured in an accident, but this client already had a big ski trip paid for and planned with friends before the accident happened. So, although in pain, our client joined her friends on the trip, but she did not ski because she was not able to because of her injuries. There were photos posted on social media of them smiling at the ski resort. Even though our client barely left the cabin because of the severe pain she was in, and she was just putting on a brave face for the pictures, the jury only saw a happy, smiling face. Perception is everything.
Another example would be if a friend asks how you are doing and you respond that you are doing fine. A defense lawyer will argue that you clearly stated you were okay and that you must be exaggerating your claims of injury. Jurors are only exposed to information presented to them, so they might not consider that you just didn’t want to talk about it all online, or that you were just trying to maintain a positive frame of mind.
Additionally, posting that you were involved in a car wreck and that you are sorry because other people involved were injured. This type of post could be misconstrued as an admission of guilt, which could seriously hurt your case, reducing your compensation for your injury claim, or sometimes, dismissing it altogether.
3. Anything You Post Could Be Used Against You
A common use of social media is to air out issues or grievances individuals have with one another or with business or organizations they interact with. If you say anything about your Wichita Falls car wreck on social media, it could possibly be used against you in court or mediation. A defense lawyer will pick apart what you post, pointing out any little inconsistency or discrepancy in your statements. It doesn’t matter that you were stressed or on pain medication. What you post will be taken for what it is. You can see why it would be best to not even give the defense any ammunition.
4. Posts You are Tagged in Can Also Be an Issue
Even if you aren’t the one posting, but you are tagged in others posts, it can be an issue in your personal injury claim. Although family and friends may have good intentions posting words of support or pictures, they could actually hurt you and be a detriment to your case.
Tips for Using Social Media After a Car Accident in Wichita Falls
The most effective way to avoid any and all problems related to the use of social media after a car accident is to completely stop posting on your accounts until your case is resolved. We have found that this is easiest when people delete the apps from their phones. Out of sight, out of mind. You might not want to delete your account completely as it could give the impression that you are hiding something. Talk with your lawyer if you have any questions, and about whether or not you should deactivate your accounts.
However, if you must use social media after your accident, please remember these important tips:
- Do not post photos or videos
- Do not discuss your accident, your injuries, your treatment, your health, or your recovery
- Do not post about your struggles, your emotions, or your current life situation
- Do not post about what you do on a day-to-day basis or what you wish you could do
- Disable features such as the ability for people to be able to tag you or comment on your profile
- Do not accept new friend requests
- Do not join new groups
- Disable check-ins
- Utilize the highest level of security and privacy
- Never post anything that as “public”
If you have any questions or concerns, talk with your Wichita Falls accident and injury attorney as soon as possible. You can also download a free PDF version of our book, The Traveler's Guide to the Universe of Personal Injury, to learn all about personal injury claims.
Contact Our Accident Attorney in Wichita Falls, Texas for Help
At our Wichita Falls law firm, we help those injured in accidents all throughout Texas and Oklahoma receive the compensation they deserve. Call us at 940-569-4000 or fill out our contact form to set up a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation.