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Personal Injury and Social Media Mistakes 

Personal Injury and Social Media Mistakes

Today’s interconnected society expects constant updates and posts to stay relevant in social circles. However, when you’re in the middle of a lawsuit, constant posting about your thoughts, and events and even passing reflections on issues can work against you.

Both attorneys and law enforcement today regularly pursue social media posted by opposing parties mainly because of three reasons: 1) it’s in writing, 2) it comes directly from the opposing party, and 3) the posts are free to access many times.

Remember, a lawsuit is fundamentally adversarial. That means the other party is actively working to discredit you as a plaintiff or defendant. Here’s how social media can impact your personal injury case:

  • Photographs & Videos – Any images you post, especially those before, during, and after the injury can all be used against you. Photographs provide more than just the target of the image; they include all the background details as well. If an image or video can raise suspicion that you’re lying about the seriousness of an image, it can sink a case with a jury and a judge.
  • Talking About Daily Activities – Many people use their posts like a diary, sharing what they are actively doing throughout the day. Unfortunately, anything you post when injured could show that you’re not hurt that bad or lying if your activity seems odd or nonsensical with the seriousness of the injury you claim you suffered. For example, if you broke your leg and are in extreme pain, going to the shopping mall or beach wouldn’t make sense. You should be unable to move.
  • Admitting Fault – Amazingly many people will actually talk about their accident or injury online with others in their friend group. That same information is accessible if the account is set to public status. And, even if private, the same conversations can be found through a discovery order; social media companies have to turn over all the data they have saved about you, including all emails, texts, messages, and posts.
  • Your Friends’ Chatter – If your friends connect and talk about your accident in their opinion, that too could be used against your credibility, especially if their posts comment about your mistakes, carelessness or potential fault.

As soon as you can after an injury, set all your social media accounts to private and do not post anything, even statements that you are recovering. Go silent, as irritating as it might be to your friends and followers.

In fact, closing your accounts altogether is a better but not perfect option (your old posts are still on file). Don’t add any new friends or followers. They can be staff or contractors of investigators or opposing counsel trying to gain access to your account and posts.

Reach out to your friends by phone and ask them not to tag or ping you on anything. You can’t control what they do, but if you explain in person, many will help. Phone calls are far safer than texting or emailing.

If you have to communicate in writing online, work with your Denver personal injury attorney and have him or her vet the communication first. Follow their lead on the wording and amount of detail included. It’s the safest place to be online until your personal injury case is completed.

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