Most Americans use at least one social media network, but some people document every detail of their daily lives without thinking about what they are posting on their social networking profiles. While most posts on social media aren’t going to have a detrimental influence on a person’s daily life, oversharing on social media after a vehicle accident might harm a personal injury claim.
A victim of a vehicle crash may feel compelled to tell others about the accident on Facebook to gain sympathy or support from friends. However, your negotiations with the insurance company could be impacted if you post too many details on social media. Discussing your negative opinions or experiences when dealing with an insurance adjuster only complicates the claims process with them.
The Risks of Discussing a Car Accident In Virginia On Social Media
In order to strengthen their claim, the insurance company may be able to access your public social media accounts in order to gather more information on you and undermine your case.
Social Outings and Photography
In a trial, photographs and comments posted on social media might be used to damage your case. Even if you think you’re being cautious with your postings, a lawyer for the defendant can use the information to claim that your complaint is exaggerated or outright false. If you photograph yourself on a hike in difficult terrain or participating in sports, the defense may argue that your injuries from the automobile accident are not as bad as you claim. When looking for compensation for the emotional impact of an accident, this is also true in regard to photographs of you having a fantastic time partying with your friends. Because of this, you might get compensated less for your injuries.
Avoid Self-Incriminating Social Media Posts
In your social media posts, it’s also a terrible idea to include statements that explain how you were feeling at the time of the accident, such as “I was distracted because of personal issues in my life,” or “I was in the middle of responding to a text message.” These phrases may be seen as admissions and used to claim that you were distracted and caused the accident. The defense may claim that you were partially responsible, and therefore you should not receive as much money as you would have if you weren’t negligent or should not receive anything at all.
Avoid Discussing Your Injuries
You should be careful to avoid communicating with anyone other than your attorney and doctors about your medical matters and tests. If you discuss these issues with anyone other than your lawyer or doctors the confidentiality safeguards may be lost. Additionally, you should never discuss your lawyer’s views on the case or his recommendations about any aspect of your claim. A person’s right to anonymity allows them to keep certain facts out of court. However, if your complaint is made public by publishing these talks online, the information might be used by the defense to invalidate your claim in court.
Even after the case has ended or settlement talks have begun, you should be wary of what you post on the internet. If your settlement includes provisions that prohibit you from disclosing the terms, posting about the settlement might be in violation of these rules.
How to Protect Your Privacy Online
You can also take measures to make sure that your social media accounts are set to private, with only people you know seeing what you’ve published. You should limit who sees certain postings. However, because being private does not always guarantee that the insurance provider cannot access your social media account in other ways, you should keep a close eye on it. If you’re not sure how to change your privacy settings on any of the major popular social media platforms, Gizmodo has an article about how to make your social media accounts private.
Use Caution When Receiving Friend Requests
Another way the insurance company may gain access to your social media accounts is through a friend request on Facebook. While your case is pending, you should be wary of adding any new friends. Even people with similar names or who claim to have gone to school with you might be sent to investigate your profile for incriminating evidence. You should not add anybody who works for the insurance company or the defense attorneys as a friend. You are under no legal obligation to give your social media postings to the insurance company if they request it. It’s better to restrict your social media accounts while your claim is pending than to expand it.
However, once your case is in litigation, the insurance company may subpoena all of your social media accounts.
Monitor Your Friends Activity About You
Aside from being aware of what you post on your account, you must be careful to monitor what others are saying about you online. On Facebook, make sure your friends are not tagging you in photos or conversations related to your car accident. Any conversations related to your case could have a negative impact on your claim. You may also limit other people’s ability to tag you in photographs and posts by changing your privacy settings.
Deleting Your Activity Might Be Considered Evidence Destruction
If you’re not sure how your recent social media activity might impact your case, you should speak with a personal injury lawyer. After the case has begun, an attorney may not advise you to remove posts that you already have on your account, as this might be considered evidence destruction. However, if you have concerns about what you are about to publish, do not post it at all.
Contact An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
If you were hurt in a vehicle accident caused by another driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Rather than attempting to settle with the insurance company on your own, you should get a free consultation from an experienced personal injury lawyer. Contact the Richmond law offices of Epperly & Follis to set up a consultation with our experienced automobile accident lawyers today at 804-648-6480.