Individuals utilizing social media accounts as an outlet do not want their private information or photos made public; however, information that is shared on social media accounts can cause complications in a personal injury lawsuit. Insurance adjusters, lawyers, and others often search social media profiles scrutinizing for fraud, conflicting statements, and additional evidence.
There are specific rules regulating what information is allowed in court as evidence; however, the rules on social media accounts are not as concrete because it is relatively new. The opponent in a lawsuit has the right to request certain records and personal information in order to proceed with the case. When a personal injury case is filed, the insurance company or person responsible for the injury will utilize all information to insist with their claim as necessary.
In general, posts on social media sites will most likely be admissible as evidence while private posts to a person or group may be somewhat complex to obtain as evidence. Additionally, pictures and comments that friends make on a social media account can also be used as evidence to dispute one’s personal injury claim. The information could be utilized to disprove the claim or decrease the amount compensation that could be awarded. If an individual’s social media account indicates that a personal injury is overstated or that no injury exists, there can be serious consequences including being accused of filing a fraudulent claim.
Shutting down or suspending a social media account while a car accident claim is pending is recommend. Following are additional tips that are recommended:
1. Do not post details about your car accident, injuries or lawsuit on a social media site or personal blog. This includes the uploading of videos and photos or responding to others’ comments about the accident or case.
2. Increase privacy and security settings on the account. It might not protect what is written but it can limit who is able to see it easily.
3. Google yourself and communicate with legal counsel to possibly remove content that could be harmful to the case.
4. Communicate with family and friends and do not allow them to post any comments or pictures that can be harmful to the case.
5. Remove any past posts or photos that could be damaging to the lawsuit. This could include complaints about a previous injury that could be used against the current claim.
It is important to be mindful how information can be viewed and interpreted by the opposing side, which can negatively impact a pending personal injury claim.
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