There’s no question that social media impacts virtually every aspect of our lives. From dining, to travel, to entertainment, to family gatherings, to once-of-a-lifetime experiences, so much of our everyday lives are shared on social media these days.
A lot of people have Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat accounts. Some individuals also have LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. As such, it can be second nature to post one’s daily happenings on their Instagram and Facebook feeds with a “snap” here and there. While this is no big deal most of the time, during a personal injury case a social post can be detrimental to a plaintiff’s (injured party) claim, sometimes even resulting in a denial.
How Can My Posts Hurt My Case?
Let’s say you typically lift weights at the gym every day. You’re involved in a car accident and your back is too hurt to lift, but you can walk 2.0 miles per an hour on a treadmill (which is slow). Then later that evening, you drive your kids to an indoor trampoline park. Throughout the day, you “check in” on Facebook that you went to the gym, then you post pics of your kids at the indoor trampoline park.
To an insurance adjuster, you just claimed that you sustained back and neck injuries in the accident that occurred two weeks prior, but now you’re posting pics on social media that you’re at the gym and a trampoline park. Even though you walked painfully slow on the treadmill and were in a lot of pain while posing with your children in the picture at the trampoline park, the insurance company doesn’t see it that way. And there’s not necessarily a way for you to prove you weren’t lifting weights or jumping with your children, when the posts are in writing and can be used in your claim.
When it comes to social posts by an injured party during a personal injury case, a lot can be misunderstood and taken out of context by the insurance company or opposing counsel. It can come down to their word against yours, and the social posts may be too vague for you to truly clarify.
Privacy Settings Are Not Good Enough
“But what about my privacy settings, can’t they protect me?” You cannot rely on privacy settings. Even if your Facebook and Instagram accounts are set to “private,” that won’t necessarily stop the other side from seeing your social posts.
A mutual “friend” or “follower” can screenshot your post and show it to the other side, or someone from the insurance company can send you a friend request or ask to follow you, and if you don’t know who they are, you can accidentally accept their request . Suddenly, you’re an open book and your social posts are being used as ammunition against you during the claims process.
During a personal injury case, you should be very cautious about what you put on your feeds. Whenever you are in doubt about a particular post, it’s better to err on the side of caution and not post at all.