Injured in an Accident? Watch Your Social Media Posts!
Posted by Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC on September 28, 2018
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Truth be told, America and many parts of the world – have become a society of over-sharers. Social media posts run the gamut from pictures of food dishes to check-ins to bingo halls. So, what happens when you are injured in an accident? How exactly should you handle what you put out to the public?
You might want to start by considering this situation. A teenage driver looks down at her phone and narrowly misses crashing into a highway worker. Fortunately, the pedestrian says he escapes injury as he was only slightly tapped by the moving vehicle.
When the accident first happens, the victim takes to Facebook to describe his near death encounter. He paints a vivid picture of how a distracted driver almost took his life. Meanwhile, friends are concerned about his well-being. The gentleman assures them all that he walked away without a scratch from the accident.
A couple of months pass and vacation pictures appear. In photo after photo, the accident victim documents his good time. In one view, he is water-skiing. In another, he is reeling in a big fish. He appears agile and happy.
All things considered, none of this might seem like a big deal. However, it’s what not said that is of interest. A few days after the accident, the highway worker realizes that his back might just hurt a bit. Surely, it is related to the incident. He visits an attorney to make a claim for monetary damages.
There’s no doubt that the victim’s back problems could be related to the auto-pedestrian accident. Without question, it’s not unusual for injuries to take some time to surface. However, this individual’s social posts have created a virtual diary that may call his credibility into question.
Social Media Posts Can Hurt Your Case
For a long time, most personal injury attorneys would give clients a fairly standard warning. You do not want to discuss your case with anyone. Not everyone is your friend. And, besides – someone could easily overhear you that has a vested interest that does not correspond to yours.
Enter the internet. The audience who “listens in” is now magnified. You might think that your privacy settings on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter protect you. Or, that Snapchat is so temporary, that you have no worries.
When questioned about the longevity of internet posts, experts give them a “forever” rating. You can delete as much as you want, but there are chances that old photos and posts will take on new lives. It’s as if the past can come back to haunt you. (And, your “friends” can even take screenshots as keen remembrances.)
One of the most significant problems with posting on social media after an accident is that it creates a timeline. In fact, it may even help accident investigators take a closer look at you if you claimed serious injuries. You’ve helped them with the detective work.
Meanwhile, writing things out or posting pictures can produce other dilemmas. You may contradict yourself and therefore open yourself up to credibility attacks.
The best way to circumvent future problems is to avoid creating them. Do not talk about your case, injuries or activities on social media. Don’t bother with Check-Ins, including the ones for doctor’s visits. Value your privacy.