Amidst the ongoing pandemic, many have found comfort in connecting with others via social media. According to Statista, popular social media outlets such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube are predicted to have approximately 40-60% increase in usage during the Coronavirus stay-at-home order. Because these platforms allow users to engage and share their feelings, thoughts, experiences, and concerns with the public, this means that someone who has recently suffered an injury might discuss the details of said injury online. Additionally, the individual may post something seemingly unrelated to his or her injury such as a photo or video, that may later be used as evidence.
The Dangers of Social Media During a Personal Injury Case
In order to successfully pursue a personal injury claim, claimants will usually call upon witnesses such as family or friends, medical experts, or other specialists who can testify on behalf of the claimant. However, just as the plaintiff will present evidence, so too will the defendant. Therefore, for individuals who are filing personal injury claims, it is critical to keep in mind that the defendant will be looking at any form of evidence to invalidate their claim. This is where social media plays an important part.
When a client is claiming personal injury yet posting photos or videos of daily activity showing no signs of said injury, defendants may use that against the plaintiff. For example, a plaintiff who had sustained serious injuries and physical scarring was facing a dispute over their personal injury claim. Based on previous medical records and physical scarring, the plaintiff had enough evidence to build her case. However, the plaintiff posted photos in a bikini that made it seem as though there were no real injuries. Once the defense retrieved these pictures from the plaintiff’s social media, it lessened the value of the case.
At Panter, Panter & Sampedro, we advise our clients before pursuing any kind of claim to be aware of previous social media postings and to be cautious when posting after the claim is filed. As Mitch Panter likes to say, “it’s easier to tell the truth.”
- Consider Active Social Media Sources. – From a defendant’s perspective, there are many social media accounts to consider when searching for the claimant’s personal social media accounts. Finding whichsocial media networks the claimant is most active on is the first step that the defense is going to take to find proof of activity. They will likely research not only on popular social media networks such as Twitter or Instagram, but also online chat forums.
- Access Social Media Accounts Ethically. – If the plaintiff has their social media set to public viewing, it is easier to pull any necessary information to help build the defendant’s case. We recommend our clients keep their social media private and never accept requests from strangers.
- Do Not Alter Your Social Media. – It is important to speak with your attorney before deleting or altering your social media activity.
For more tips on what to post and not post on social media, please refer to our previous post on Social Media and Litigation.
If you have been injured in an car or auto accident, or due to the negligence of someone else, it is important that you contact an experienced personal injury attorney who will help guide you through the legal process and may be able to help you receive compensation for your losses. Our number one priority is helping our community and protecting Florida’s families. Currently, Panter, Panter & Sampedro is working on all current cases and is open to accept any new cases as well. Get in touch with us by calling (305) 662-6178 or visit us online for a virtual chat. Let our family help your family.