Social media helps us keep in touch with friends and family who live far away, get news, share things we enjoy, and more. But if you or a loved one have recently been injured in a car accident, you may need to take a break from social media because what you post online could unknowingly hurt your chances of getting the money you need for your medical bills and lost wages.
Anything you post, or that others post about you online, becomes part of the public record, even if your accounts are private. This means if you need to take your claim to court, it can potentially be used as evidence against you.
While you may think you’d never post anything that could hurt your claim, especially since you weren’t at fault, insurance companies and their adjusters and lawyers are experts at twisting victims’ posts to make them look like something they aren’t. Even a photo of you smiling could be used to argue that your accident didn’t cause you pain and suffering the way it really did.
What Type of Posts Can Hurt Your Claim?
“I was in an accident but I’m okay.”
Any statements that minimize your injuries could come back to bite you later if your injuries are more serious than you first thought or become worse over time.
“I didn’t see the other car until it hit me.”
Any statements that could be seen as any admission of guilt could cause the insurance company to reduce the amount of compensation you get, or deny you altogether.
“They must have been going at least 60 MPH.”
Avoid making guesses at what happened, and never make statements about the specifics of the accident. It’s easy to make mistakes or forget details, but if you post something that contradicts what you told the police or insurance company, or that contradicts later evidence, it can and likely will be used against you.
“I’m going to take them for everything they’re worth!”
It’s natural to be angry when you’re in an accident that is someone else’s fault, but avoid attacks against the at-fault party that might make the judge or jury think you weren’t actually hurt but just want revenge.
“Work has me so stressed I can’t sleep!”
The defense may try to argue that your mental state at the time contributed to your accident, so don’t share posts that make it sound like you were unusually stressed, upset, angry, tired, or distracted around the time of the accident.
Social Media Rules After an Auto Accident
- Stay Out of Photos
Photos can misrepresent your health, both physical and mental. For example, if your compensation claim is arguing that the accident caused extreme emotional distress, and your injuries prevent you from doing many of the activities you used to do, but a recent photo on your social media account shows you smiling with friends, the defense may try to argue your claim is exaggerated or false.
Even if you don’t post any photos of your own, make sure to ask your friends and family to avoid posting pictures of you and refrain from tagging you in photos as well until your claim is resolved.
- Change your account settings to private and don’t accept new friend requests.
This won’t prevent the defense from requesting access to your account, but it can make it harder for them to get access.
- Turn off sharing and comments.
If your privacy settings allow it, prevent others from posting to your wall, commenting on your updates, sharing your posts, or tagging you in photos.
Even if you play it smart on social media, that doesn’t prevent a friend or family member from accidentally posting something that could hurt your claim, even a silly joke that makes it sound like you contributed to your own accident, like calling you a “speed demon.”
- Post as little as possible.
Ideally, you should stay off social media entirely until after your claim is resolved. Even if you avoid posting about your accident, the insurance company may argue that you seem far too normal and healthy based on your social media posts to be suffering from injuries or mental and emotional stress.
Hurt in a Car Accident? Call Parrish DeVaughn
If you or someone you love were injured a car accident, you need to contact the team at Parrish DeVaughn right away. The clock to get compensation starts ticking down the moment your accident occurs, and evidence often quickly disappears.
When you contact our team, we’ll be on your side, even when insurance companies play dirty. Contact us today for a free case consultation.