Social media plays a significant role in influencing personal injury cases. On the one hand, platforms can provide valuable evidence. On the other, careless social media activity can be detrimental to a claim.
How Social Media Can Damage a Personal Injury Claim
Social media platforms provide a window into the private lives of individuals, and this exposure can be detrimental to a personal injury claim. Injured parties often share aspects of their daily activities or personal experiences, and defense attorneys may use this information to challenge the severity of injuries claimed. For example, if someone asserts a significant loss of enjoyment of life due to a car accident but posts pictures engaging in recreational activities, it can undermine their credibility.
Attorneys may meticulously compare social media posts with official statements, seeking any disparities that could weaken the plaintiff’s (injury victim’s) case. Plaintiffs may make statements on social platforms that contradict their claims in court, leading to questions about the severity of their injury or the circumstances surrounding it.
Misinterpretation of Posts
A seemingly harmless photo or comment may be taken out of context and used against the injured party. This misinterpretation can have serious consequences, as it may be presented in court to challenge the legitimacy of the claimed injuries or damages. For example, a social media post that depicts a plaintiff as emotionally stable or unaffected by the alleged trauma may be used to argue that the emotional distress claimed is exaggerated or inconsistent with the portrayed mental state.
Admission of Fault
Plaintiffs may inadvertently admit fault or make statements that could be construed as an admission of liability.
Are Social Media Posts Admissible in Court?
Social media posts are admissible as long as they are relevant and authentic. Parties seeking to introduce social media evidence must establish that the posts were not manipulated or taken out of context. Privacy concerns can be raised, and the court will balance the probative value of the content against potential infringements on individuals’ privacy. Still, any posts, photos, comments, etc., on social media can be used as evidence in court.
The Dos and Don’ts of Posting to Social Media
Remaining off of social media altogether is the best option, but if you choose to post, here are some tips to follow:
Refrain from posting or commenting about the accident or your physical condition.
Change the settings on your accounts to “private” and so that you are asked before being tagged in a photo or post.
Google yourself and tell your attorney if you see any information that comes up that can harm your credibility.
Ask friends and family not to post any photos or information about you, your accident, or your recovery until the case is resolved.
If you have been injured due to another party’s negligence, speak to an experienced Fresno Personal Injury Lawyer as soon as possible. They can help ensure social media does not impact your claim negatively and build a strong case on your behalf.