In 2020 the average American adult spent more than 3 hours on social media each day. In 2019, statistics show that 79% of adults used a form of social media. So it’s pretty safe to say that in today’s world your average individual is active on at least one social media channel.
Social media can be a great tool, helping us to stay connected with friends and family, reconnect us past relationships, and even just to stay updated with current events. But in some situations, social media should be used with caution.
Whether you were injured in a car wreck, trucking accident, slip/trip or fall, or another type of incident that led to a personal injury claim, your social media activities could impact your outcome. As we know social media can inadvertently harm us, because of the ability to relay information about yourself to others.
Here are four ways social media could potentially impact your personal injury claim:
1. Discredit Your Injuries
Social media tends to showcase a highlight reel of an individual’s life. So while you may be suffering from your injuries daily, things posted on social media (by yourself or others) may not necessarily reflect that. It can be misleading by showing activities or check-ins that contradict injuries you may be claiming as part of your case. We require that our clients’ claims be based on complete honesty in regards to injuries, and when a case is based on honesty, even a seemingly innocent post or tag on Facebook may call factors of your case into question and cause doubt.
2. Comments Outside Your Control
Social media offers an outlet for commenting and posting free of guilt. While some social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow users to turn commenting off for posts, others do not. Even if you aren’t commenting or posting about your accident and injuries, it doesn’t prevent someone else on your friends’ list from mentioning it in a post or commenting about it. Even if you delete these comments, once something is on the internet it should always be considered publicly available.
3. Lack of Account Privacy
This may seem like an unusual question because many people who use platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and SnapChat believe their accounts are private by default. Unfortunately, that isn’t typically the case. Most of these platforms require users to search through application settings to turn off the ability to others to see your posts publicly, others to search for your profile, and more. Privacy settings require opting in, not out. Otherwise, people beyond your friends’ list can see your posts, statuses, friends’ list, posts others tag you in, and even like or comment on your activities. Don’t assume that what you post online will only be viewed by those that you want to see it. Before you post, read it from the perspective of the at-fault party or their insurance adjuster. If there’s a single doubt, it’s likely not safe to post.
4. Posts About Your Lawsuit or Accident
This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people post on social media about their lawsuit or accident. The best thing you can do during a personal injury claim is to pause social media usage entirely, or at minimum use social media only as a viewer – not an active user. Check your privacy setting and set them at the most secure levels. Heavily screen anyone attempting to add your as a friend. People can pretend to be someone they aren’t to view your social posts in an attempt to damage your claim.
If you’re unsure how to move forward with your social media accounts during a personal injury claim, call the staff at Jones & Swanson at (770) 427-5498. We’re here to answer your questions. We have decades of experience representing injuries victims in and around the Marietta area, so we’ve seen many instances of social media impacting cases negatively. We’re here as a resource to you, and that includes helping you navigate the unknowns of social media usage during a claim.
For more information on what to do after an accident, check out this video from attorney and Partner Chase Swanson.