How Can Social Media Impact Your California Personal Injury Case?
In today’s world, it has become normal for people to post the details of their lives online. But when it comes to a personal injury case, it’s best to stay away from social media altogether. Images, videos, and other information posted on social media are considered written documents by law. Therefore, social media posts may be admitted as documentary evidence. Posting anything at all—where you went, how you were feeling, even what you ate—means that the defendant’s attorney can use it as evidence against you. The defendant’s lawyer or insurance company will look to social media for evidence contradicting your claim.
People aren’t born knowing the dos and don’ts of social media regarding personal injury cases. You may not know how to keep your social media from harming your case, but an attorney does. An experienced personal injury lawyer has the necessary knowledge and skill sets to inform you how to handle social media while your case unfolds.
Is Social Media Considered a Public Record?
A common misconception is that social media posts are considered private information. However, even if you’ve set your account to private, social media content is considered part of public record by law. Social media being a public record means that anything posted on a social media account, regardless of privacy settings, may be used against your personal injury claim.
One exception to this law is private messages on social media accounts. While private messages are not considered a public record, the defendant can still access them. The defendant’s attorney will need to obtain a warrant or your consent to access private messages.
5 Posts That Should Never Appear on Your Accounts after an Accident
Unfortunately, posts made on social media can be taken out of context. A singular picture, video, or Tweet is unable to encompass a whole story. A social media post taken out of context may get you into an argument with a partner or friend, but the wrong post during a personal injury case can have detrimental effects. A singular post can mean the difference between earning fair and complete compensation or having your compensation reduced. In a worst-case scenario, it can mean having your claim dismissed entirely. Here are five things not to post in order to avoid social media trouble throughout your personal injury claim.
Most people have heard you should never apologize at the accident scene. Apologizing, even if it’s just because you feel bad about the situation, is admitting fault. Whether or not you are to blame for the accident, apologizing can be taken as an admission of guilt. The same applies to your social media post. Even a simple statement meant to be mournful that the accident occurred can be used against you.
2. Admission of Guilt
Numerous other statements or actions you may inadvertently commit can potentially shift liability. For example, a statement like “I crashed my car” can be used to claim you are at fault for the accident. You may make such a statement to recount the event for friends and family without considering legal matters like liability. Unfortunately, the out-of-context statement can be used as evidence against your claim, regardless of your intentions.
3. Photos/Videos of the Crash Scene
One of the best things to do after an accident is to record evidence and collect witness statements. Videos, photos, and witness statements are significant contributors to the success of your claim. However, the moment that evidence is posted publicly, it loses objectivity. Public posts may be skewed or altered, thereby making them less reliable, regardless of your intention.
4. Evidence That Minimizes Your Injuries
Posting any photos, videos, or statements about your daily activities is a dangerous trap. Insurance companies or the defendant’s attorney may use those posts to argue you are enjoying your life despite your injuries. Even if you spent a whole event in pain and sitting in a corner, posting your attendance is potential evidence that you do not need total compensation or might not need compensation at all.
5. Angry or Inciting Rants
It’s understandable to feel angry, especially if someone else’s negligent behavior caused your injuries. These rants need to stay private, even if there’s an urge to rant about the accident publicly. Social media posts are public records, meaning anything you say can be used against you. Avoid hurting your claim by being smart about who hears your rants. Make sure it’s not through social media.
Your best approach to social media after an injury is to not use it. As difficult as this may be, going silent for a period of time will ensure nothing can be used against you in your personal injury claim. It may also provide you with a clearer mind and much needed rest from the constant influx of information these networks bring. If you simply can’t resist making a post, make sure your lawyer knows which channels you are using so that he or she can guide you through your recovery process.
Personal Injury Lawyer Eric Ratinoff Can Help Protect Your Personal Injury Claim
Eric Ratinoff Law Corp. has over 25 years of experience in personal injury and a strong track record of obtaining maximum financial compensation for his clients. The California claims process is challenging enough without throwing social media into the mix. Attorney Eric Ratinoff advocates for the rights of personal injury victims. When you work with Eric Ratinoff you can be confident you will have the legal advice and resources you need to recover to your fullest potential. Call (916) 970-9100 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation today.