Social Media: What you POST can & will be used against you

If you’re on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or any of the other popular social media apps, you may be someone compelled to share constant information about your daily life. These platforms all act as a modern-day diary, memorializing personal thoughts about your day and reflecting your views on sensitive topics like religion or politics. You can’t help it—you post it all. When you go somewhere, you have to “check-in” on Facebook to let others know what movie you’re watching or what restaurant you’re eating lunch. You’re also in the habit of posting pics of your weekend hikes and the occasional selfie that the gym.  Let’s face it—the foregoing describes each of us to a certain extent.   

The digital age has changed the way we connect with one another. However, unnecessary social media posts can be a plaintiff attorney’s worst nightmare. For injured clients, one ill-advised status update can have an adverse impact on a settlement or jury verdict. For this reason, it is imperative that an injury client communicate with his or her lawyer prior to sharing anything online through any social media application.

Calculating Damages

When you initiate a claim against someone that caused your injuries, you will seek compensation not only for medical bills but also for pain and suffering. Unlike medical bills, it is difficult to quantify the precise amount of damages for pain and suffering. For this reason, insurance claims adjusters and defense lawyers on the other side will always attempt to minimize damages by utilizing your social media posts. In other words, what you post on Facebook can and will be used against you.

For example, let’s say you were injured in a car crash and you have been suffering from back problems ever since. Your medical bills extensively document your physical limitations, which your doctor has determined was caused by the accident. You claim that you can no longer enjoy the activities you love, like running or playing tennis. However, your Facebook page contains photos of you running or playing tennis since the crash. There you are, jogging with friends through Tucson or showing off your signature swing at the tennis courts. Unfortunately, those online photos can be used to contradict your claims of pain and suffering. They can and will also be used against you wherever possible to contradict your claim of physical limitations. For this reason, we recommend these guidelines for personal injury victims:

Tips for Social Media

1. Set your social media accounts to private.

This helps prevent outside parties from scrolling through your media accounts and seeing everything you have published. However, no matter what your privacy settings are, you should always refrain from posting anything that relates to your case.

2. Do not post anything relating to physical activities after you are injured.

As the example above demonstrates, insurance claims adjusters and defense lawyers will attempt to utilize your social media accounts to minimize your damages. A photo of you engaging in a physical activity (even though limited) can be taken out of context and is not worth the risk of posting.

3. Counsel friends & family members to refrain from posting about you.

Unfortunately, social media posts from friends and family can also have an adverse impact on your case. Avoid being “tagged” engaging in physical activities and make sure to caution your friends and family against sharing anything relating to your case.

4. Don't post at all.

Anything you post can be used against you by the other side. Not posting at all may ultimately be the wisest decision.  

5. Talk to a lawyer.

If you have been injured and believe it was due to the negligence of someone else, you need to speak to a lawyer right away. Give Quintana Law a call for a FREE consultation at (602) 418-0733. We can help.