A majority of Americans are active on at least one (1) social media platform such as Facebook. Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. How has social media changed the legal field? It’s complicated. Social media posts are becoming more and more prevalent in legal cases. The private thoughts we assumed we were only sharing with “friends” can quickly be used by the opposition in a legal case.
The Trouble With Social Media
Most personal injury cases do not go as far as a trial, but social media posts can be disruptive in settlement proceedings as well. Insurance companies could find your social media posts and determine that your claim initially valued at X amount is now considerably less because you have pictures showing yourself downhill skiing the day after you were injured in a car accident. Even innocent posts can become an issue in a legal case. For instance, you post photographs from a few years ago of you rock climbing. Without context, the insurance company you are attempting to settle with may believe they are current photographs.
While there may be some time be hurdles to admit social media posts in a court of law, those same guidelines do not apply in the settlement process.
How to Manage Your Digital Profile
The best practice: delete your social media account. Do we honestly expect everyone to do this? No. So here is a list of things you can keep in mind for your social media accounts:
- Privacy settings – make sure your social media account settings are set to private. While that may not necessarily mean you are safe, it certainly helps.
- Don’t post anything about the case – even if it seems innocent, it is better to be safe and not post anything about the case. You may post something innocent enough, but someone else may comment or respond in a way that you may not want the other party to see.
- Do not comment on public comment sections. Any comments make on a public post are easily accessible by other people. It is particularly important to refrain from commenting if there is a news story related to your personal injury incident.
- Take a moment before hitting “post.” Take a moment to consider the implications of what you’re saying. Imagine if those things were said to the jury in your case. Does it help your case or hurt it? Can it be taken out of context?
Contact Our Firm
The golden rule is to refrain from all social media. Absent that, make sure you think before you post. For more help or advice for what to do after a personal injury and how to start your claim, contact our firm.