how social media impacts a personal injury case in Morrow, GA

How Social Media Use Can Impact a Personal Injury Claim

The vast majority of Americans have at least one social media account, and many people spend a good portion of their day interacting on these platforms. We use them to read up on the latest news, post status updates, post photos of trips and activities we are involved in and read and comment on other people’s posts. For the most part, social media activity is fun and harmless; but when someone is involved in a personal injury claim, what happens on these platforms can come back to haunt them.

The Dangers of Social Media Use during a Personal Injury Case

Imagine that you were driving home from work when someone ran a red light and crashed into your car. The collision jolted you into a state of shock, and you walked away with what you thought were minor injuries. After it is all over, you post some photos of the accident scene on Facebook and you tell your friends that although it was a high-speed collision and your car is totaled, you are going to be okay.

Sounds pretty innocuous, right? A car accident is a fairly traumatic event, so naturally you want to tell your family and friends about it and let them know that you are fine and there is no need to worry. What’s wrong with posting an update like this?

The problem in this scenario is that you may not have known just how serious your injuries were. Oftentimes, the adrenaline rush that occurs right after an accident will mask the pain, and you may not start to feel it until a day or two later. In such a case, that initial Facebook post could hurt your case if the other side uses it to argue that your injuries are not as severe as you claim they are.

The above example just one way that a seemingly innocent social media post could damage an accident injury claim. But the potential problems are not just limited to posts that are made immediately after the accident, those that are made later on can be harmful as well.

For example, let’s say you suffered a severe injury like a fracture that left you laid up for a while. You claim that your losses go beyond just the medical bills, lost earnings, and other economic costs. The injury has caused a lot of physical pain, emotional distress, anxiety about the future, and depression from being stuck at home and not able to participate in activities that you enjoy.

In the midst of all this, your family decides to try to cheer you up by taking you on a vacation to a resort where you can spend some quality time with your loved ones. The trip is just what you needed, and you decide to post some photos of you and your family members laughing and having a good time.

Again, this would seem like a normal thing for someone to do if they are trying to recover from a serious injury. But if the defendant were to get a hold of these photos, they might argue that you are exaggerating the noneconomic losses you have suffered.

One of the major problems with social media posts is that they are very easy to take out of context. A photo you share or get tagged in or a comment you make can often be misconstrued by the other side in order to support their argument.

How Should I Handle Social Media during a Legal Case?

It is important to understand that anything you post on social media is presumed to be public information, and it is all discoverable in a legal case. Although you might have the strictest privacy settings, insurance companies have well-paid investigators who are very tech savvy and able to uncover online information that is not easy for the average person to get a hold of. For these reasons, the very best practice is to stop all social media activity and suspend all of your accounts until your case is over.

If you are unable to stop using social media entirely, at the very least, do not make any posts of your own and do not comment on anyone else’s posts. In addition, ask your family and friends not to tag you in any of their posts. Limit your activity to just reading posts that other people put up, so you do not give the other side any ammunition.

Contact an Experienced Georgia Personal Injury Lawyer

Social media activity is just one of many potential pitfalls that can harm a personal injury claim, and this is why it is not advisable to try to handle a case like this on your own, especially if you have sustained more moderate to severe injuries.

At Stein and Fox, our attorneys have extensive experience successfully representing personal injury victims in Atlanta and the surrounding communities. We have recovered over $125 million in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients, and we will fight hard to secure maximum compensation in your case. Message us online or call our office today at (770) 961-1700 for a free consultation with a member of our legal team. We look forward to serving you!

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