Watch What You Post When Pursuing a Personal Injury Settlement
In the 1940s, they used to say, “loose lips sink ships.” In 2020, that needs updating to “loose posts sink settlements.” When pursuing a personal injury settlement, a plaintiff must curtail, if not entirely cease, their social media activity. That is because the information contained within social media accounts can be used by the defendant to support the defense’s arguments that your injuries aren’t as serious as you present in court.
Status updates, vacation photos, offhanded comments, “funny” memes, and shared home videos can all be subpoenaed by the defense counsel. It doesn’t matter if you put it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. It doesn’t matter if you have it hidden behind privacy settings. This information can harm your personal injury settlement. There are a growing number of cases where social media posts are used against plaintiffs who have suffered personal injuries in car and work accidents.
Everything you put on social media can be gathered as evidence. Insurance companies and defense attorneys can, and will, paint an unflattering picture with your social media posts. Opposing counsel can use vacation photos and weekend snapshots to claim that your back injury isn’t as serious, even though the photo may not show the pain medication and hours of physical therapy you had just endured. They can use comments you post on your page or on public pages to challenge timelines of events, facts of the injury-causing incident, your motives, the extent of your pain and suffering, your credibility, etc. Thus, it would be best if you considered that anything you post on social media is in the public domain and readily accessible to the defense attorney and their client(s).
The best way to address the potential risk of social media posts coming back to haunt your claim is to simply close your account until after your lawsuit concludes and the settlement is received. This does not mean closing the account and creating a new account under an assumed name. If there is no account to view, there is nothing to be subpoenaed and nothing in those accounts that can be used to impugn the veracity of your claim.
We encourage you to contact Sloat, Nicholson, & Hoover, P.C. at (303) 447-1144 for more information about the steps required to prepare for a personal injury case. We will answer your questions and help you develop a successful strategy for pursuing your personal injury settlement.
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