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Posted On August 16, 2012 Personal Injury

Social Media: Friend or Foe?

You would be hard-pressed in this day and age to come across someone who is not on at least one social media site. From Facebook and Twitter to YouTube and Tumblr the masses are obsessed with social media. For some reason, we all feel the need to divulge information about our lives and what we are doing—information that, before social media, we wouldn’t bother sharing in a normal conversation because frankly who cares? Then came the social media storm and now you can constantly check on where someone is, what they are doing, what they are eating, and can even get photo evidence of such. This is all invigorating and fun until the things you post on these sites come back to haunt you.

Do We Even Know What We Are Sharing?

What did you post on Facebook a month ago? Don’t remember without going back to look? Then you are like most people on social media. The fact is, we post things and then forget what it is we have put out there for the world to see. Once something is on the Internet, you can never take it back and this could prove to be very detrimental should you ever find yourself in a situation where you are pursuing a personal injury claim.

Many of our clients ask us why we want them to shut down their social media accounts during the claim process, and the answer is very simple—because the defense attorney and an insurance company will use anything they can get their hands on to discredit or dismiss your claim. One of the first responses we typically hear from clients is, “well my profile is private,” but that doesn’t matter. It is becoming more and more common for the defense or insurance company to subpoena the log-in information for all of your social media accounts—and judges are granting these requests.

What You Post Can and Will Be Used Against You

Something as simple as an image that makes it seem like you were doing something you shouldn’t be misconstrued and used against you. For example, perhaps you were at a birthday party and there is a photo of you standing next to a moon bounce but you are suffering from a serious back injury. The defense could see this photo and argue that you are not that injured because you were by the moon bounce. While that would be a bit of a stretch, this is how far they will go to not pay you the compensation you deserve.

Protecting Yourself Online During Your Personal Injury Claim

There are simple steps you can take to ensure that your social media does not completely kill your claim.

  1. Disable your account as soon as you begin the claim process. Many people protest to this because they do not feel they can live without their social media for any extended amount of time, but this is the absolute best way to protect yourself.
  2. If you will not discontinue use of these sites during your claim, watch what you post. You shouldn’t be doing anything that will further injure you or that is against your doctor’s orders and you definitely should not post photos that make it seem like you are doing this, even if you weren’t. Also think before you post a status, comment, or anything else. Think to yourself: how could this hurt my claim?
  3. Watch what your friends post. It is not just what you post, friends can tag you in photos, comments, videos, and statuses as well so you need to be sure that nothing they are saying or sharing will work against you.
  4. Do not underestimate the defense attorney or insurance company. If you are unsure if something you post could be detrimental to your claim, just don’t post it, to begin with. They will use ANYTHING they can find against you.

This is not meant to be a scare tactic but rather a clear depiction of the realities of today’s claim process. By watching what you share with the world online, you can make sure that your case will not get thrown out because of misconstrued information.

To learn more about what you should and should not share online during your personal injury claim, speak with your skilled New Jersey accident lawyers. They will lay it all out for you so that there are no avoidable missteps made in your case.