Were you injured in a car crash? Did you slip and fall at someone’s home or at a business? If so, you may be looking to hire a personal injury lawyer. But watch out — your social media posts matter!
Most personal injury lawyers will advise you not to post on social media if you were injured in a car crash or slip and fall because posting the wrong thing means that you may significantly devalue your personal injury claim.
Let us explain the dangers of posting on social media after you have been injured in a car crash or a slip and fall.
A Scenario to Show How Quickly Things Can Turn Against You
You were just in a serious car crash on a Colorado roadway. You are shaken, but you want you let your friends and family know you survived the crash. At the time, it may seem like the best way to let everyone know that you lived through the experience is to post something on Facebook. Your post may say something like: “Look at all the damage to my car! Someone ran a red light and crashed into me. Luckily, I’m fine.”
After all the adrenaline wears off, you then realize that you really are hurt. When you go to the hospital, the doctor finds that you have a neck injury, so you really are not fine.
Don’t be surprised if the insurance company tries to use your social media post to show that your injuries are not as severe as you are now claiming. While you only wanted to let your friends and family know that you are alive and stop them from worrying, your post may hurt your personal injury case. Why? Because every post you make may be admitted as evidence in court.
Colorado Rules of Evidence Rule 801(d)(2) allows the insurance company to admit your out-of-court statements in court. Social media posts are included in this rule.
Can I Post Details of My Car Crash on Social Media?
As personal injury attorneys, we do not recommend posting anything about your car crash, your slip and fall, or any other personal injury claim on Facebook, Instagram, or any social media platform. We’d actually prefer that you do not post on social media at all. The insurance company may try to use what you post to show that you are not as injured as you claim to be.
How Can Social Media Affect My Personal Injury Claim?
- Social media shows evidence of your current activities. For example, if you claim that your injuries from your car crash make it so that it’s hard to walk, but your social media posts tell a different story — like show you out riding a bike and hiking through the Rocky Mountains — those posts may hurt your personal injury claim. The insurance company may try to prove that those posts show that you are not being honest about your claim.
- Prior social media posts can show what your lifestyle was like before you were injured. This can be a positive thing in some cases. For example, let’s say you claim that your injuries from the car crash have made it so that you can no longer ski, but pre-injury posts show you out each weekend skiing, hitting the moguls, and going on ski vacations. Those pre-injury posts will back up your claim that your lifestyle has been drastically altered because of your injuries.
- Social media can be used to show contradicting statements in court. Under Colorado Rules of Evidence Rule 801, a witness’s prior statement can be admitted, and that includes social media. If a witness posts something like this on your wall: “I’m glad you are feeling better after your car crash!” Then that witness testifies in court that you haven’t made any improvement on your injuries, that social media post may be used in court to show that your injuries really have
What Can You Do to Reduce the Risk of Your Social Media Posts Being Misused by the Insurance Company?
The best advice is to not post anything at all on social media until after your personal injury case is over.
Always set your social media privacy setting to private, so only the people you know can see your posts. The insurance company attorneys may request a disclosure of your social media activity, so once you file a personal injury claim, you should carefully consider every social media post you make.
If you must post on social media, ask yourself:
- What would a jury think of this post?
- Does this post have anything to do with my injury or recovery?
- Could my post be misunderstood?
- Does this post make me look like I’m living a better lifestyle than I actually am?
- Does this post give a false impression that I’m less injured than I really am?
If you have posted on social media, it is important that you DO NOT DELETE any posts that may be important to your lawsuit – even if they are not putting you in the best light. During active litigation, this is called the destruction of evidence. The court can severely penalize you for destroying evidence related to your case.
Important Next Steps
Whether you were in a car crash, slipped and fell on someone’s property, or were injured because of the negligence of another person in some other way, contact our experienced attorneys at Debbie Taussig Law. We will evaluate your personal injury claim for free, help you get maximum compensation, and take on your burden so you can heal.