Social media has exploded in the past ten years. Billions of people worldwide flock to social media platforms to share information and stay connected to others. Today, you have a wealth of choices regarding where to post online, from Facebook to Twitter, Tik Tok, Instagram, Snapchat, and new ones popping up every day. Although entertaining, innocent posts can potentially be used against you in court, creating challenges for your defense and jeopardizing your chance for victory. If you are in the middle of a personal injury case, it’s important to be mindful of what you post online. One photo taken out of context can impact the outcome of your case. To ensure your social media isn’t posing a threat in your personal injury trial, here are a few simple rules to follow while your case is ongoing.
The Power of Social Media
Even before your case reaches the court, your adversary’s investigators and legal team are checking your social media accounts to see what inflammatory evidence they can dig up about you. Finding intel online has become easier than ever because social media has evolved to be a rich source of information where users voluntarily post content about their lives. Investigators may utilize software to track your social media activity across various platforms on the internet. Furthermore, the courts have deemed social media public domain, and anything published online can potentially be used as evidence in a court of law.
Be Careful What You Post Online
From the second an accident happens, you should assume legal teams are looking for anything that will discredit a personal injury claim. Insurance companies have established teams of attorneys dedicated to protecting their interests in court. Social media gives unprecedented access to personal information, making for a very reliable source for gathering evidence against you. Their job is to find evidence to invalidate your injury claim and save their client from an expensive settlement.
Social media displays cherry-picked moments of your life, snippets you purposefully and selectively choose to share. Your online portrayal is often disconnected from reality and can quickly paint the wrong picture in court. Posting may seem innocent; however, even the most innocent posts can be misconstrued in front of a judge or jury in court. Take for example a picture yourself on the beach, wind in your hair, tall cool glass of your favorite beverage in your hand. You take a selfie and share it on your social media, with the tagline, “living my best life.” Now imagine this photo being shown in court, and listen to the opposition argue that you are indeed living your best life, and the injuries you sustained aren’t affecting your quality of life or daily operations. Suddenly, the jury doesn’t see suffering, and your case just got cyber-bombed by an innocent beach photo. The jurors didn’t see you struggle to walk; they instead see a cocktail in your hand. They don’t see the hours of physical therapy you have every week; they see you lounging by the water with the wind in your hair. They don’t see the pain you wake up to every day or the long road of recovery ahead; they instead see sand, water, and sunshine. To prevent your story from being misconstrued, assume that someone is watching your content, and do not give them anything that would be harmful to your case or reputation.
Tips for Engaging in Social Media After Filing a Personal Injury Claim:
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There are thousands of examples of how quickly and easily social media can be weaponized. Don’t let social media become a threat to the outcome of your personal injury case. If you or a loved one has suffered a personal injury or wrongful death, please contact the experienced trial attorneys at Allen & Abaray, P.A. to schedule a free, initial legal consultation at (877) 669-6899 or (863) 669-9999. Our office is located in Lakeland, Florida, and we serve clients in Polk, Hillsborough, Osceola, and Lake Counties.