How social media posts can ruin your personal injury case
Anyone who’s seen the show Cops has undoubtedly heard the age-old Miranda Warning: “Anything you say can and will be used against you!” In today’s era of personal injury law, social media ought to have its own Miranda Warning because anything that an injury victim posts on social media can and will be used against them by the insurance companies.
For example, if you are in the middle of a personal injury lawsuit and you claim that your quality of life has been compromised by injuries sustained from an accident, it’s not a good idea to post a Facebook status or compose a Tweet that says, “Great workout at the gym!” or “Awesome night dancing with the girls!”
After seeing such a post (and it WILL be seen), the opposing lawyer will argue that you can’t possibly be in as much pain as you and your doctors claim if you’re still able to have such a good time working out at the gym or dancing.
Their next course of action will be to request the passwords to all of your social media accounts so they can sift through all of your personal data in search of “evidence.” Worse yet, the courts will likely grant them permission to do so.
What’s more, don’t be surprised if the opposing lawyer pulls up that innocent photo you posted after your accident and says to the court, “Look at that smile! Doesn’t he or she look really happy? Would someone who is really suffering through a lot of pain be smiling like that?” It won’t matter if the photo was taken before the accident, they’ll only care about when it was posted.
As ridiculous as it sounds, when your personal injury attorney demands compensation for pain and suffering in respect to your quality of life, any photos or comments you post indicating that you might be enjoying anything at all will be used as “evidence” to the contrary. In short, the insurance companies will use your social media posts to make it look like you’re living large ... even if you spend 18 hours per day in a hospital bed!
So What Should You Do?
If any of you are basketball fans, you might recall that LeBron James strictly adhered to a self-imposed “no social media policy” during each of the last two postseasons to avoid unnecessary distractions. He won the championship both times. Clearly, it worked for him and it might work for you during your personal injury lawsuit.
But if this message didn’t reach you in time and you already posted something you regret, don’t delete it. That would be considered “destruction of evidence.” In that case, notify your personal injury attorney immediately and think carefully about subsequent posts if you choose to keep using social media at all.
Overall, the moral of the story is that when you’re involved in a personal injury lawsuit, don’t post anything that could in any way be related to your case. There’s a reason why every public figure involved in a lawsuit says nothing more than “no comment” whenever they get asked about it. It’s because it can’t help you and could (literally) cost you dearly.