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Social Media: Be Careful About What You Post!

Written by Nikita Wolf, Trial Attorney with the Pendleton Law Team

Social media.  It’s everywhere we look and constantly changing.  Some of us use it stay in touch with friends and family, to follow the latest influencers and celebrities, to find new recipes or workouts to try, and to share what’s happening in our daily lives with others around the globe.  It’s fun and usually free.

But like many things on the internet, what we post today could come back to haunt us tomorrow.

After an accident, it’s easy and almost second-nature to post pictures of our damaged vehicles and a short blurb about what happened.  It lets everyone know very quickly that you’ve been in a crash without having to call or text everyone on your friends list.  It explains why you might not be able to go to work for a while or why you can’t attend that party this weekend.

It also gives the insurance company and defense attorneys free and easy access to statements about your physical condition immediately after the crash and for possibly months following.

Think about the last time you were in a crash.  Did you post something on social media?  The answer is probably yes.  And a lot of friends and acquaintances expressed their concern and asked if you were ok, didn’t they?  Do you remember what you said?  If you’re like many people, your answer was probably some variation of “Yes, I’m ok” or “A little banged up, but I’m doing fine.”  While those answers may seem innocent to you – you know that you were hurt, but probably didn’t want people worrying about you – an insurance adjuster or defense attorney can (and WILL) use those comments as a reason to significantly reduce the value of your case!

We’ve seen it a million times.  The adjuster will search your social media and find these comments.  Then they will turn around and say to us – “see?  Your client said they were fine.  They’re just faking their injuries to get more money.”  It’s a common defense tactic and, sadly, an effective one because if your case goes to trial, the defense attorney can bring in screenshots of these comments to use against you.  Then you’re fighting an uphill battle to convince a Judge or jury that you really were hurt and needed the treatment you received.

It isn’t just social media posts from the day of the accident that you need to be concerned about either.  As we all know, while you’re treating after a crash you will have good days and bad days – days when you’re feeling either better or worse than normal.  It’s easy to make a post on one of those “good days” about something you might do that day – a birthday party, a short trip to see a friend or family member, or even that walk you took in the local nature park.  What we don’t post about are the days of pain and seclusion afterwards.  We don’t post pictures of ourselves laid up in bed because that party you went to or walk you took on your good day made your back pain flare up so bad you couldn’t walk for three days.  And all the adjuster will see is you out and about trying to find something good while you’re in a world of hurt – whether you posted about it yourself or whether someone tagged you in that post.

So be careful about what you post on social media about your car crash.  And before you think you can just delete that post so the adjuster or defense attorney won’t see it – don’t even think about it!  Social media lives forever and anything you ever post is still stored on the platform’s servers – even after you delete it – and available for the defense attorney to subpoena in your case.  It is far worse for your case to delete a social media post in an attempt to hide it than it was for you to make the post in the first place.

When in doubt, don’t post anything!