In 2010, 41% of the population of Florida had a Facebook account. Given the rise in social media and the number of other social media sites now available, this would likely be a low estimate for 2017. Social media is great a place for us all to share our lives with friends and family around the world.
When a part of our lives involves an injury claim, sharing it on social media is ill-advised. How could social media affect your personal injury claim? The following analyzes the possible impacts.
Why social media can be harmful to your personal injury claim.
Personal injury claims often have two parts. The first is physical injury and the costs associated with doctors bills, hospital stays, and medicine. The second is pain and suffering associated with the injury- such as the stress caused by mounting bills when you cannot work due to injury.
If you have a personal injury claim, part of your claim might be for wages lost during the time you were not able to work due to the injury. The attorney for the person whom the claim is being filed against, or the defense, will be looking to find information to refute these claims. They might look through Facebook and find a picture you posted of your brand new boat being christened on a dock in Cape Coral. Your claim of suffering due to loss of wages will look rather weak.
Another claim might be that due to your personal injury, you are not be able to enjoy activities with your family you once loved, like going to the beach. If you tweet out a picture of you chasing after your kids on Fort Myers Beach, and the tweet is dated after your injury, a judge likely will rule against you.
Social media can be used to prove your emotional state
Have you ever seen the button you can push on Facebook to say things like “feeling exhausted” or “feeling grateful” or “feeling excited”? Ever pushed that button? If you have, a defense attorney in a personal injury claim might point to it to prove your emotional state. The pain and suffering part of your claim might be that you have had depression and thus your social life has become non-existent. If you are tagged at events, in pictures of parties, or even just hit “yes” on an invite page, all these things can be used by a defense attorney to refute your claim of social isolation.
Is your social media public or private?
The examples above bring up a good question. Is what you post on the internet public record? The answer is yes. Anything you post publicly on the internet is available for use. Private posts are not unattainable either. If a defense attorney so wishes, he or she may attempt to get a warrant for those records as well.
Advice for Social Media use During an Personal Injury Claim
After an injury, if you seek to make a claim, suspend all social media activity. Even the most innocuous post could be used against you. Making any mention of your injury could lead to negative consequences for your case. Be sure that all of your accounts are set to private and do not accept any new friend requests or follow requests during the time your claim is ongoing. Family members and friends should also be asked to refrain from posting anything about you or your injury. If they are willing, it is helpful for friends and family to set their accounts to private as well.
Seek an experienced personal injury attorney
If you have been involved in an accident and have suffered a personal injury, it is important to seek an experienced attorney who will work tirelessly to get you compensation. Lusk, Drasites, & Tolisano have helped many Southwest Florida residents take legal action when hurt by someone else’s recklessness or neglect.