Maintaining privacy on social media is important for many reasons, from college applications to professional networking. However, there’s one aspect of your social media that people seldom consider: How a court of law might perceive your posts after a car accident or other incident that leads to legal action.
As we discussed in a recent post, social media can negatively impact a personal injury case, even when there’s been legitimate harm or damage.
Facebook’s Long Shelf Life
Content posted via social media has a long shelf life, and there’s no limit to how far back an insurance investigator or attorney will go to make his or her case.
In a 2013 Colorado lawsuit, a young driver involved in a drunk driving accident was given a maximum sentence in criminal court after Facebook postings showed the defendant partying after the crash.
In 2004, a 19-year-old woman spent a year in jail after she drove drunk and lost control of her car, killing a friend in the backseat. Five years later, she was back in court for a minor parole violation. The judge took note of the woman’s Facebook posts, which revealed her smiling, drinking with friends, and traveling after her friend’s death.
“Where is the remorse?” the judge asked before he sentenced the woman to three more years in jail.
Ensure Your Privacy on Social Media
After an accident, insurance adjusters look for evidence to shift fault and limit what injury victims receive. Perhaps not surprisingly, one of the first places they look is social media. You privacy settings are no guarantee that someone can’t access your posts. Do not post anything that could be highlighted by the other side.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and similar social networks are not safe havens for the self-expression of accident victims. Understand that social media posts can adversely affect your ability to recover maximum compensation.
As a result, attorneys recommend injury victims limit social media use after an accident. Specifically, claimants should not make comments about fault. Avoid posting pictures that may be used to refute your case. If you suffered neck and back injuries in an accident, don’t share pictures that show you engaged in physical activities.
Furthermore, we suggest you ignore friend requests from people you don’t personally know. Insurance investigators and other lawyers may use this method to gain greater access to your social media accounts.
The Chances of Getting in a Car accident are High
Citing auto insurance estimates, a Forbes magazine article states there are approximately 10 million accidents every year from parking-lot fender-benders to multi-car crashes and that the average driver will file a collision-related claim approximately once every 18 years. As social media becomes pervasive, it plays a greater role in personal injury cases related to car accidents.
Finally, know your options. If you were hurt in a car accident caused by a careless driver in the greater Denver area, contact the experienced attorneys at the Frickey Law Firm before you turn to social media. We’re here to help you understand your legal options. We will fight for your financial security.