Can Facebook Posts Be Used in a Personal Injury Case?
According to The Balance, about 240 million Americans use Facebook, at least occasionally, to post pictures of their families and provide updates to their followers. Other social media sites are also popular, especially with younger Americans: Instagram, VSCO, and Twitter.
If you have been involved in an accident, you might feel tempted to share information on Facebook. We encourage you to avoid doing this. Insurance companies are definitely trawling social media sites to find information that they can use to reduce or deny claims, and injured victims do not want to do anything that hamstrings their case.
If It’s Public, It Can Be Used
This is a good general rule of thumb. If you post information for public consumption about your accident, then don’t be surprised if it comes back to undermine your claim.
Here is how Facebook posts can impact a personal injury suit: you let slip in a post something that sounds like you are accepting responsibility for the accident. New York is a comparative negligence state, and any fault on your part can reduce the amount of compensation you receive or preclude you from getting any compensation at all. Something as simple as, “I wasn’t even watching where I was going” could be used to show your fault.
You might also say something that minimizes your injuries. This information could be used to reduce the amount of compensation offered, also.
You Would Be Surprised by What Is Relevant
Let’s say you were badly injured in an accident, but your sister’s wedding is being held a month later, so you end up going. It’s held out of state, and you are in constant pain, but you put on a brave face and load up on painkillers just to get through the ordeal.
The fact that you traveled could be used to show that you are not badly injured. Even a simple status update on Facebook that shows you are traveling far away could be relevant in a personal injury case.
There might also be a question about whether you were drinking in the moments leading up to an accident. If you post pictures of Facebook of you drinking with friends, then this is some evidence you have a habit of going out and carousing.
Set Your Account Private
This is the simplest step you can take to protect your personal injury case. After setting your account to private, don’t accept any friend requests.
Even Better, Don’t Post at All
Nothing says you have to use Facebook or other social media sites to tell people what is going on with your life. If you want to share information about the accident or your recovery, then tell them face to face or call them up on the phone. (Remember when we used the phone to communicate?) The advantage of this type of communication is the lack of any paper trail.
Remember that you can always update people on your condition later, once you have secured a favorable settlement.
Contact a New York City Personal Injury Attorney for a Free Case Evaluation
Social media posts on Facebook are becoming more and more relevant in personal injury cases. An attorney at Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & Moverman will help you protect your privacy and your right to compensation. Give us a call at 212-285-3300 or fill out our contact form.