How Social Media Can Hurt (or Help) Your Personal Injury Claim
What is the first thing that you do when something noteworthy happens during the day? Do you post it on Facebook? Social media platforms make it easy to share everyday events with family, friends, and even the entire world. But it is possible to share too much too quickly on these sites–especially if you have recently been in a car accident.
Defense Attorneys Will Use Facebook Against You in Court
If you are seriously injured in an accident, you have the right to seek damages from the negligent parties. But when you file a personal injury lawsuit, the defendant has the right to discovery–to require you produce any information relevant to the accident and its aftermath. More and more, savvy defense lawyers are asking for copies of plaintiffs’ social media posts.
Why is such information useful? Many personal injury lawsuits allege emotional distress or loss of enjoyment of life as a consequence of the defendant’s negligence. But if a defense lawyer can show the jury an Instagram picture of the plaintiff dancing and partying a week after the accident, that can undercut her claim for damages. Even if the picture is just a snapshot and taken out of context, it can still be enough to sway a judge or jury.
Of course, the reverse is also true. Let’s say our hypothetical plaintiff finds a Facebook post of the defendant drinking with friends an hour before the accident. That can help the plaintiff convince a jury that the defendant was negligent–driving drunk–and therefore should pay damages.
Why You Need to Speak With a CT & RI Car Accident Attorney
You might be tempted, given the warnings above, to simply delete your social media accounts following an accident. This is generally a bad idea. Deleting posts may be construed by a judge as intentionally destroying evidence. A better approach would be to simply stop posting until any personal injury claims arising from the accident have been resolved. Some social media sites even allow you to temporarily suspend or lock an account, which still preserves any existing posts should they be requested in discovery.
Above all, if you have been in a car accident, you should speak with a qualified Waterford – New London, CT & RI personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. At Polito & Harrington, LLC, we can advise you on what to do–and what not to do–when it comes to social media and discussing your accident with others. Call us today at 860-447-3300 to schedule a consultation.