The vast majority of society has embraced social media––Twitter, Instagram, Facebook–– or whatever they can use to post pictures of themselves, talk about their activities and socialize with friend and family online.
Social media is a great tool for communicating with people and can be a lot of fun. However, using social media to post pictures of yourself while you have a personal injury claim pending can be harmful to your case.
Insurance companies and defense attorneys will look wherever they can find an advantage that can be used to make you look bad and damage your credibility as a plaintiff. Furthermore, in recent years, courts have allowed social media posts to be introduced as evidence in lawsuits.
According to the American Bar Association, today’s courts will typically allow defense attorneys to request social media posts that are relevant to your injuries and activities. As a result, it is now common for insurance companies and defense attorneys to search social media for evidence that can weaken your personal injury case.
Images from selfies and other photos posted on social media sites can be used by insurance companies to deny or limit your claim, or by defense attorneys during cross-examination to discredit you and harm your case.
Even when you are being honest about your injuries and the way they have impacted your life, these pictures, videos and comments can be taken out of context by the defense or misunderstood by the jury and can have a significant impact on the amount of compensation you are awarded.
For example, let’s imagine you were injured in a car accident and have been having difficulty getting around town, but then post photographs of yourself on a recent vacation where you are seen walking in the water, going to the pool, or attending some type of sporting event. These images can then be used by the defense to argue that you are not as injured as you claim to be. If they are successful, you may be awarded far less compensation than you actually deserve.
Some personal injury attorneys will not assist you to pursue a case if there are pictures on social media sites where you can be seen doing things that you claim you can no longer do. In one particular case, a man claimed to have a shoulder injury, but the law firm handling his case discovered a photo of him water-skiing. They then dropped him before the lawsuit was ever filed.
People these days post all kinds of things on their social media pages. But if you have been seriously injured in an accident and you are seeking personal injury compensation, something you post on a social media page can inadvertently jeopardize your claim. Therefore, it’s a good idea to stop using social media completely until after your claim has been settled or a judgment has been rendered in your case.
Attorney Timothy J. Ryan has been working with injury victims for over 34 years. He has extensive experience with insurance companies and their tactics to try and deny legitimate claims. Those interested in obtaining a free consultation from our Southern California law firm can do so by calling (800) 838-6644 today.