Most people know better than to comment on their accident, the extent of their injuries, and other things directly related to the accident. However, many people don’t consider the impact that even seemingly innocuous posts can have on their accident claim. For example, that “check-in” at the mall or a selfie with your friends, smiling and laughing may make you seem disingenuous when you claim serious injuries, especially if the post is in close proximity to the date of the accident.
People who have experienced serious injury and disability understand that there can be “good” days and “bad” days, and sometimes, it’s possible to force a smile even if you are in pain. Sometimes, injuries from accidents take weeks or even months to fully manifest. People who have been involved in accidents will understand that it’s possible to feel fine in the immediate aftermath, but feel worse weeks, or even months, later.
However, it is unlikely you will experience the good fortune to have a jury made up of sympathetic jurors who have experienced such injuries. They may not understand, so it may seem to them that you can’t be seriously injured if you were walking around the mall and that your emotional distress, depression or anxiety can’t be that bad if you’re smiling for the camera. Consider what you’re posting (or allowing others to post) on social media and don’t give them any reason to doubt your injuries.
Tips for Posting to Social Media
- Don’t post about your accident—this includes photos of the scene, your injuries, whose fault you think it was, etc. This includes comments on other profiles, especially public ones. Don’t volunteer that evidence!
- Mind your privacy settings: make sure you know who can view what on your profile.
- It is highly advisable to limit posting on social media altogether in the aftermath of an accident, but if you do continue to post, privacy settings are a good start, but make sure everything passes the poster test: if you wouldn’t want it blown up to poster size, on display for the judge and jury, don’t post it. Remember that just because it’s not publicly viewable doesn’t mean it’s not discoverable evidence.
- Your posts may be discoverable evidence and must be preserved – do not delete them if you are involved in litigation. This is called spoliation of evidence and can be a very serious violation!