How Social Media Can Affect Your Personal Injury Case
Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, TicToc, or Twitter, social media effects how many of us communicate in everyday life. It allows us to communicate in ways we never dreamed possible twenty years ago. Social media allows us to share our lives with friends and loved ones who live in distant places. Depending on the privacy settings, it also allows strangers, potential employers, the government, and insurance companies to learn about our lives.
If you were involved in an automobile accident or slip and fall through no fault of your own, it is important to recognize that what you share today may end up before a jury tomorrow. Your posts and messages may affect how an insurance adjuster or jury views your case and injuries.
Minimizing your Injuries on Social Media
When it comes to injuries, an injured person may tell friends and loved ones on social media that they are okay. People often say they are okay so friends and family do not worry. For example, a person recently involved in a car wreck may post that they were in a car wreck and “everything is okay.” What the post does not tell the reader is that four hours later, the poster went to the emergency room with neck and back pain.
The injured person’s post only tells a small portion of the story: that they were in a car wreck. The post did not discuss subsequent treatment and the months of physical therapy. A reader who does not personally know the injured person will be left with the assumption that he or she sustained no injuries. Sometimes, online posts are not reflective of reality. A social media post today, could negatively affect your case tomorrow.
Social Media Posts May Not be Confidential
Some courts have found that social media posts are not privileged or confidential and are discoverable by the opposing party in a lawsuit. You should keep this in mind when posting online or otherwise sending messages via email, direct message, or text.
Parties in a lawsuit have a duty to preserve evidence, including communications. You should not delete any communication or correspondence. If you do, it could complicate your case and have adverse consequences.
Steps to Ensure Your Privacy
Whether you are involved in a personal injury case or not, it is wise to take steps to ensure your privacy online. If you use social media, check your privacy settings. The below links will guide you through checking your privacy settings on common social media platforms:
Conclusion: Consult with a WV Personal Injury Lawyer
If you are involved in a car wreck, slip and fall, or other personal injury case, you should speak with a West Virginia personal injury lawyer about your use of social media and the preservation of its contents.
Barney Law PLLC represents people injured through no fault of their own. Feel free to call us at 304-932-8775 or send us a message.