The newsLINK Group - Social Media and Your Accident

Editorial Library Category: Legal | Personal Injury Topics: Accident, Social Media Title: Social Media and Your Accident Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: People like to share their lives with friends and family on social media. But there are a few times when doing so may not be wise, and one of them is after you’ve been in a serious accident. Editorial: Social Media and Your Accident 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 People like to share their lives with friends and family on social media. But there are a few times when doing so may not be wise, and one of them is after you’ve been in a serious accident. What can happen if you do make some posts? What harm can it do? For one thing, it might result in a much-reduced settlement amount. How is that possible? You probably know that court cases can involve pictures from traffic cameras, police reports, and testimonies from witnesses. But you should be aware that other people besides friends and family might take a not-so-friendly interest in what you have to say. In particular, attorneys and insurance adjustors may be looking for anything that they can use against you. You can be sure that nobody wants to be put into a situation where they might have to pay you a large amount of money, and they will be willing to expend a fair amount of effort to convince the legal system that they shouldn’t have to. This is particularly important if you were injured. The fact is that if you were hurt, you might do your best to put a smile on your face for the camera … but it won’t make you look as though you were really hurt all that seriously if you can be shown having a good time. And you may keep things happy and light when you do post something, not sharing just how bad things are for you, because you don’t want to burden your friends or seem like a whiner. Unfortunately, though, pretending things are better than they are, in words or in a photograph, can definitely backfire on you. What can you do to protect yourself? This is a good time to take a vacation from all social media. It would actually be very smart not to blog, and not to post on Facebook or Twitter. A judge can force you to share what you have posted with those who are working hard to find reasons to deny you financial compensation for harms you are suffering. You can’t share what you don’t have, so if you can, just don’t post anything. Some people may think not posting is about as easy as not breathing. If you really think you have to write something online, talk with your lawyer first about the risks, and then — if it still seems essential — do it cautiously. Consider how your words or pictures might be used against you. Limit it as much as you can, and think about how anything you post might look to someone else. Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know, and limit how much people who aren’t friends can see. Check to see who is following you on Twitter. A woman in Georgia found this out the hard way, as reported January 3, 2013 by Mark Niesse in The Legal Intelligence, which is a law journal. You would have thought she had everything in her favor for receiving damages. She was going somewhere with a friend, and a refrigeration company’s van that was traveling the opposite direction turned left in front of the car she was riding in. She broke her arm, suffered a concussion, and had a laceration on her forehead. The arm had to be mended with a plate and some screws because of the severity of the break. It turned out the van driver had been given five tickets for speeding and also had two DUIs. Her lawyer requested $1.1 to $1.3 million in damages. The jury awarded her $142,000 instead. They agreed with the at-fault driver’s defense attorneys, who showed the jury her Twitter posts. Those Twitter posts made it sound as though she had recovered fully and was, in fact, doing great. If you are seriously hurt in an accident, and lawyers are trying to help you get the money you need to put your life together again, don’t make it impossible for them to succeed.