Absolutely, positively, do not post about your auto accident on social media. Insurance companies and other parties love to troll social media for any proof whatsoever that you are not hurt or some inconsistencies in your case. Moreover, we frequently look at the other driver’s policy to see if they admit liability.
Why Not Talk About My Accident Online?
It is natural to want to reach out to friends and family – for help, for emotional support, or just to vent about the events of your day. When you talk about the crash on Facebook or other social media sites, you are making essentially public statements that may be used to undermine your claim.
It is important to be aware that posting to Facebook after a car accident can result in significant harm to your case. That advice applies to Facebook, as well as other social media such as Twitter or Instagram. After a car accident, you want to do everything in your power to present the best possible case and to obtain compensation for your injuries. You might wonder what to say on social media after an accident. The answer is simple: say nothing, and post nothing.
Instead of posting questions and comments about your accident on social media and jeopardizing your claim, reach out to an experienced Tampa car accident attorney to learn more about getting started on your case.
What Benefits Are There to Posting About My Auto Accident?
Social media platforms (i.e., Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn) are undeniably a major source of news, information, and (mostly) entertainment these days. Astoundingly, there are close to 4.2 billion hits to social media on a monthly basis which means that almost half of the people on the planet are social media users. And on Twitter, for example, users produce over 6,000 tweets every single second.
Just as social media is playing a larger role in our lives, these platforms have begun to affect personal injury claims. Regardless of the privacy settings you use, it is imperative that anyone who is in the process of pursuing a personal injury claim understands that social media accounts are not private and anything posted on social media is not confidential.
How Can Posting on Facebook, Instagram, and Other Social Media Hurt Your Car Accident Claim?
Insurance companies constantly monitor social media sites. If you file a claim, chances are good that someone from the insurance company or the opposing party will search you out on social media. Making your account private is not enough. Edit your behavior BEFORE your next post.
Here are five ways (just to name a few) your social media posts can destroy your case:
Information about your activities can be used to claim you’re not injured.
- A social media post showing you in your pool, with friends, on vacation, or even just going to a theme park might be used as evidence that your injuries are not as bad as you claim – even if you were only standing there for a few moments, putting on a brave face. We get it. Nobody said you could not do these things. It’s just harder and more painful to do them.
- Comments about the accident might be twisted as your admission of fault. Fault in a car accident can be a complicated question. Your casual comments about what happened in the accident, like ‘I never saw him coming’ can be manipulated by insurance adjusters and opposing attorneys to imply you are admitting fault, even when you are not legally responsible for the accident.
- Posting ‘too frequently’ can be used to claim you didn’t suffer emotional distress. Car accidents can be terrifying, and the pain and emotional trauma of serious injuries can be devastating. If you are taking part cheerfully on your social media streams as nothing happened, an insurance company may try to argue that the accident did not affect you as much as you claim and therefore you do not deserve compensation for emotional trauma.
- Talking about your case may negate the confidentiality of your information. When you share information about or discuss your case on social media, it becomes public knowledge. Any confidentiality protections, such as those you have when you talk to your injury lawyer, no longer apply. Because car accidents often involve sensitive medical and financial information, it is best to keep updates on your case to yourself.
- Trashing the insurance company may be read as a sign of bias. We all want to vent our frustrations when involved in a lengthy insurance claim process. But if you put your frustrations in writing online, the insurance company may try to argue that you are biased and exaggerating to get vengeance and are not negotiating in good faith.
Even if you believe you have your settings on Facebook, Twitter, or another site set to ‘private’ or ‘friends only,’ anything you post to these sites has the potential to become public – and to be seen by insurance adjusters or other people in a position to use this information to deny your claim or reduce the value of the claim. So don’t post anything. You don’t know half of your ‘friends’ online anyway, do you really trust them not to disclose this?
How Should I Handle Social Media After a Car Accident?
With so many potential ‘traps’ and ‘pitfalls,’ what are the best ways to handle social media after a car accident? Frankly, don’t post but if you must consider these tips:
- Set your social media accounts to ‘private,’ so that only your current friends can see what you post. If the site allows you to prevent friends from writing on your social media stream or sharing what you post, activate these protections as well.
- Don’t let ‘friends’ tag you without your permission.
- Avoid adding new ‘friends’ or followers unless you know them and trust them. Never add an insurance adjuster or other insurance company employee.
- For the best results, avoid posting entirely until your claim is resolved. If you do post, never mention your accident or your claim. Update trusted friends and family members privately, and warn them not to mention the claim online.
But My Account Is ‘Private’ They Can’t See Anything
You might have heard that making your Facebook or Twitter accounts ‘private’ can prevent anyone from pulling information from those accounts in the event of a courtroom trial for a car accident claim. Wrong. Limiting public access to your social media accounts does not prevent the insurance companies or their legal defense teams from gaining access to your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, or other social media accounts. Defense attorneys can gain access to private messages, and in some cases to posts that you have deleted simply by issuing a subpoena or ordering you to download it.
This does not mean that you should avoid using the ‘private’ setting if you plan to keep your social media accounts active after the accident. Privacy settings can help to prevent other users from tagging you in photos or posting information to your social media pages. What I mean is that the ‘private’ settings only gives you a false sense of security that ‘nobody will see your account.’
Will Insurance Companies Look at My Social Media After a Car Accident?
An insurance company may look at your social media account. Plan on them looking at your account. Gone are the days when the worst thing an accident victim had to worry about in day-to-day life was an insurance investigator that could be doing video surveillance on his or her home or workplace. In the modern-day and age, all the insurance company needs to do is utilize social media in order to learn about the victim’s life following an injury claim.
To be clear: you should refrain from discussing the accident online whatsoever. Understand that it is extremely simple to say something that could be interpreted as damaging to your claim even when it seemed completely neutral when you contemplated it. Don’t post pictures of you partying or horseback riding or doing overly physical activities.
For example, think about these scenarios:
- Publicly telling a well-meaning friend you are ‘doing well’ – frankly, more to be polite than the meaning you are actually ‘doing well’
- Posting pictures showing you casually participating in an action that contradicts with the severity of your injuries that has been asserted by your doctors
- Above all, keep in mind that the other side may be able to gain access to anything you post and use it as proof to dispute your claim to damages. Even deleting a post later doesn’t mean this evidence can’t be recovered by the right technological guru.
It is impossible to predict how the courts, juries, insurance companies, and the other party’s lawyer will interpret things you post online. For all of these reasons, it is best to keep off social media altogether during your recovery.
How Can I Protect Myself Online?
Once again, I cannot emphasize enough that the best thing you can do is get off social media entirely. However, if you cannot control yourself and need to post something online, you should, at minimum, understand things you can do to help protect your online image during this critical time.
These protective behaviors include:
- Never admit fault or say anything incriminating online
- Don’t post anything or message anyone about your personal injury case
- Ask your online friends not to tag you in posts or post photos of you
- Don’t show yourself being overly active
Have You Been Injured in an Accident Caused by Someone Else’s Negligence?
Whether you are concerned about your online presence or some other aspect of your personal injury claim, you should turn to a legal team you can depend on. A team that has the experience to get you results. The experienced Tampa personal injury attorneys at Fernandez and Hernandez, we have helped many people who have been injured because of someone else’s negligence and you can rely on us for the help you need to succeed. Contact us today at 813-229-5353 for help with your accident.