Most people use social media to share details about their lives with friends, especially after big events. If you are involved in a car accident in Kentucky, you may be tempted to share news of the accident with your social media friends and even post online pictures of the crash or your injuries.
But sharing details about your car accident publicly on Facebook or any social media platform can be a bad idea. It may have a negative effect on any car accident claim you file. At the Becker Law Office, we caution: Don’t let social media posts wreck your car accident claim!
Here’s what you need to know.
Many people who seek legal services after a car accident ask our advice about what they can post to social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, or Twitter. Our answer: Don’t post anything! That’s right. We advise against posting any information to social media after a crash. What you post on social media may differ in some details from what you tell an insurance adjuster. The adjuster may exploit those discrepancies to deny your injury claim.
For example, consider that you post a status update letting your friends know that despite your injuries, you are recovering, and are even happy about the fact that you were able to get outside of your hospital room and spend some time outdoors in the sun. You accompany your status update with a picture of you smiling.
But when you file your claim with the insurance company, you state that your injuries have kept you bedridden, and that you are experiencing psychological injuries, such as depression, as a result of your injuries.
The insurance adjuster pulls up the picture of you sitting outside smiling, and the accompanying text saying you are happy, and immediately has a way of disputing the extent of your injury and your claim of pain and suffering. This is an example of why you should not post anything about your accident on social media.
This point warrants clarification. We are not telling you to lie on social media. We are also not telling you to post about how awful you feel or how bad your injuries, damage, or loss might be due to the accident. What we are saying is that anything you post on social media is available for the world to see and potentially reference during a legal dispute or claim. It is very easy for this type of information to be taken out of context. In other words, one photo of you smiling on Facebook does not mean you feel great all the time and no injuries occurred, but that might be how someone else interprets the context. True or not, you should be aware that such circumstances could present challenges and even affect your claim.
Social media refers to all things that you post to the internet. This includes what you write or share:
You should use discretion and be very careful about any online activity following a crash. While you might be tempted to post all about your recent story, injury, or recovery, it is highly recommended that keep this information off all online platforms. Even if you think that the online platform and communication is private, it might still be possible for others to gain access to your posts.
Another problem with social media sites like Facebook is that even if you do not post pictures or status updates yourself, other people can post updates and tag you. For example, the example above could very easily include a scenario in which a good friend of yours visits you in the hospital while you are recovering, snaps a picture of the two of you together looking happy, and posts an update which explains how well you are doing. Because you are tagged in the photo, the image and accompanying comments appear on your profile page, too. If your profile is set to public, an insurance adjuster can view this information. Even if your profile is set to private, an insurance adjuster may gain access to the information.
The best practice is to delete your profile entirely, suspend it while your car accident claim is pending, or simply make sure that you do not post anything related to your incident. Even if your profile is set to private, it is possible for a court to issue a subpoena, which is an order for you to turn over the social media data to be used as possible evidence. This means that if evidence exists, even if it is private, you may be ordered by the court to present it as part of your case. You can read more about cases where subpoenas have been used to obtain social media evidence in “Social Media Evidence – How to Find It and How to Use It,” published by the American Bar Association.
Keep in mind that once you share content, it is public information. You could even be accused of destruction of evidence if you delete content after sharing it. The best thing that you can do is to avoid posting entirely. Ask friends and family members to avoid posting comments about your accident, and suspend or delete your profiles.
If you have been injured in an accident caused by another motorist, you should talk with a Kentucky car accident attorney being trying to handle a claim on your own. You should seek a free consultation to review the details of your injury. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney can help you understand your legal rights and offer guidance about whether you have a valid injury claim as well as things you should avoid doing after a car accident.
While social media may be the easiest way for an insurance adjuster or insurance company attorney to learn about your life and collect evidence that can be used to undermine your claim, it is by no means the only way. An insurance adjuster may drive by your home or place of work to see if you are engaging in any activities that are impossible based on your injuries, or to see if you have made any false claims regarding the extent of your physical or psychological losses.
Our Kentucky car accident attorneys at Becker Law Office can provide experienced guidance after a crash. We know that you have questions about your legal rights and options, and want to assure you that we are here to help you. Whether you need assistance navigating the claims process or are ready to think seriously about filing a lawsuit, we have the resources and experience that your case deserves. To schedule a free, no obligation consultation, please contact our lawyers today by writing us a message.