The aftermath of a car accident is a stressful and confusing time. Not only are you dealing with insurance companies, medical bills, and car repair costs, but you must also be careful about what you post online.
Social media is a fun way to keep in touch with others, but it can also pose serious risks if you don’t use it responsibly after a car accident. Posting about a car accident on social media can seriously affect your legal case, insurance claims, and privacy.
Fortunately, a personal injury lawyer Halifax you understand the potential dangers of social media use after a car accident and provide valuable advice on how to protect yourself and your legal rights.
The Dangers of Posting About Your Accident on Social Media
Car accident victims must exercise caution when posting on social media after their accident. Photos and videos placed on social media can misrepresent the extent of an accident victim’s injuries, which may prove costly in terms of a potential compensation award. For example, in the case of Kaiser v. Williams, 2015 BCSC 646, the plaintiff was in the hospital for 28 days and moved in with her parents for two and a half months for assistance with her recovery. She claimed she could not do housekeeping chores for two years following the accident and had to give up or limit her social and recreational activities. However, the defendants used her Facebook entries to contradict her evidence, showing her dancing, jumping, performing handstands, and a video of her wake surfing post-injury. The judge accepted the evidence of the defense expert as more accurately reflecting the plaintiff’s real limitations from the accident, significantly reducing the monetary award.
Accident victims should be aware of how opposing counsel could use their posts on social media against them and be vigilant about their privacy settings. Victims can protect themselves from potentially damaging implications by avoiding any postings that contradict their claims and understanding their privacy settings.
The Importance of Keeping Your Case Private
After suffering injuries in a car accident, it’s best to keep your case private until you speak to a lawyer. Posting about the accident on social media can expose you to various legal issues and jeopardize your case.
In some cases, posting about the accident on social media could lead to a case dismissal or limit the compensation you are entitled to. To protect yourself and your case, keep all details about the accident completely private. Do not post any information about the accident on social media and ensure that your friends and family do not share any information about the accident on their accounts.
Activities to Avoid on Social Media Following an Accident
After a car accident, it can be tempting to post about it on social media. Unfortunately, engaging in certain activities on social media may have serious repercussions regarding your claim and the outcome of your case. Here are some things you should never do following a car accident:
- Posting pictures or videos of the accident: Taking photos or videos of the accident scene and sharing them on social media gives insurance companies or opposing lawyers ammunition to use against you. If you take pictures for evidence, make sure to keep them private.
- Posting updates about your injuries: Updating your health status after an accident can give the impression that you are doing better than you are.
- Making jokes about the accident: While it may seem like an innocent comment, a joke about the accident may discredit you and undermine your claim.
- Posting updates about your recovery progress: Insurance companies and lawyers will look at posts about your recovery process, such as posts about returning to work or being able to drive again, to prove that you’re not as seriously injured as you’re claiming.
- Accepting “friend requests” from people you don’t know: It’s not uncommon for insurance companies and lawyers to send out friend requests to gain access to your social media profiles. Only accept requests from people you recognize.
- Being careless with your privacy settings: Set your profiles to private and limit who can view your posts. That way, you can control who sees what you post and protect yourself from potential legal issues.
- Posting pictures or videos of yourself engaging in questionable activities: If you post photos or videos of yourself engaging in activities such as sky-diving or running a marathon, this could serve as evidence in court.
How Social Media Can Be Used Against You
After a car accident, knowing how the other side may use social media against you is crucial. In some cases, the insurance company or your opponent’s lawyer may search for your social media activity to prove that you are responsible for the accident or that your injuries are not as serious as you claim. Here are ways the opposing party can use social media against you during a personal injury claim:
- Providing photos or videos that undermine your account of how your injuries affected you
- Using your social media to challenge the cause of your injuries
- Using the post to minimize your injuries
- Using your social media posts as evidence you suffered the injury before the accident
- Looking for proof on social media of pre-existing injuries explaining your symptoms
- Using your posts to show you are not following your doctor’s prescribed treatment plan
- Using your photos or videos to demonstrate that you were engaging in activities contradicting the nature and extent of your claimed injuries
Remember that anything you post online could come up in court, so it’s best to avoid posting anything related to your accident or the circumstances surrounding it. Err on the side of caution and be mindful of what you post online following a car accident.
Social Media Privacy Settings
Although setting your profile to private is a good idea, this is not a failproof plan and does not mean you should post about the accident. It is a common misconception that private social media posts are inaccessible to anyone else. Recent court cases have held that the defense in a lawsuit can access even posts behind a privacy wall. If they can prove that the posts are relevant to proving or disproving the issues in the case, the court may order the plaintiff to produce the posts regardless of their privacy settings. As Isacov v. Schwartzberg (2018 ONSC 5933) found, access to evidence comes before social media privacy in today’s technological environment.
Given this potential risk, people should assume that nothing is private on social media. Strong privacy settings may not stop others from gaining access for use in court.
Tips for Safe Social Media Use
With just a few simple steps, you can protect yourself from potential pitfalls that may arise from what you post on social media. Here are a few tips for safe social media use after a car accident:
- Refrain from discussing details of the accident online. Even if you think you are talking to trusted contacts, it is best to keep the details of your case private.
- Be mindful of the comments and content you post on friends’ pages. Anything perceived as related to the accident could come up against you in court.
- Don’t post anything that might seem questionable or suspicious. This can include anything from photos of you drinking alcohol or engaging in risky activities to angry posts about the other driver or your insurance company.
- Be aware of what you “like” on social media. Even if you aren’t actively commenting on an accident-related post, simply clicking “like” could be misconstrued.
- Don’t post anything interpretable as accepting blame for the accident.
- Don’t accept friend requests from anyone you don’t know personally.
- Make sure your social media accounts are private and review privacy settings frequently.
- Don’t delete posts that were already up, as this could raise suspicion.
- Avoid discussing your case with anyone outside of your legal team. If someone reaches out to you via social media and asks questions about your accident, politely decline to comment and direct them to speak with your lawyer instead.
- Consult with a Halifax injury lawyer before posting anything on social media regarding your accident. They can advise you on what is safe to share and what should be kept private.
Social media is a powerful platform but can be dangerous when used carelessly after a car accident. By following these tips, you can ensure that your words and actions online do not end up costing you financially or emotionally in the future.
Speak With a Halifax Injury Lawyer
If you suffered injuries in a Halifax car accident and are considering filing a claim, consult with an experienced Halifax injury lawyer. At Wagners, our team of qualified accident lawyers has extensive experience helping injured individuals seek the compensation they deserve. We understand the complexities of personal injury cases and strive to provide personalized legal assistance tailored to your specific situation. We’ll take the time to review your case, answer all of your questions, and advise you on how to proceed with your claim.
Contact Wagners today and learn how we can help you pursue the compensation you deserve.