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Social Media Mistakes

Tue Feb 18th, 2020 On

As of the last quarter of 2019, Facebook reported nearly 2.5 billion active users, with over 180 million in the United States alone1. An active user is someone who logs onto Facebook at least once per month. Facebook, of course, is just one of the many social media options. Other popular platforms include Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, andWhatsApp. These networks provide a simple way to stay connected with family and friends, where news of your life is easily shared through a few clicks, taps, or swipes. 

When a significant event occurs, a normal reaction is to share this information with friends and family. Whether it is a new puppy or a new job, creating a post on Facebook, a story for Snapchat, or a tweet on Twitter is a simple way to spread the word. Along with exciting events, it is also common to share unfortunate events in a person’s life, such as when they suffer an injury. You may not assume any negative consequences could come from posting this news. However, insurance companies and defense lawyers may twist the words of your seemingly innocent posts to their advantage. If a lawsuit is being considered, a cautious approach is necessary.

Your attorney will discuss your social media use and provide personal guidance on the best practices to follow in order to avoid negative impacts on your case. Generally speaking, in a lawsuit, social media can be used detrimentally in 3 ways: (1)to cause doubt about the severity of your injuries, (2)to call into question the cost of your property damages, and (3)to cast you in a bad light. Let’s examine this further.

First, if any posts appear to contradict your injuries, this can reduce the value of your case. For example, doubt can be raised regarding the severity of a leg injury if you then share about your afternoon walk on social media. Additionally, the significance of emotional trauma and its lasting effects can be questioned next to joyful posts about a vacation or a party you attended. Your highest priority after suffering a personal injury should be to focus on your recovery. However, during the course of recovery, being mindful about your social media sharing is essential.

Second, regarding property, if posts or images about the damaged property are shared on social media, these may be used to argue against your allegations. Photos of the property before the accident could show prior damage, while pictures after an accident may be used to argue for a lack of severity of the damage. It is best to refrain from sharing images until the lawsuit concludes.

Third, a very important aspect of your case is your likability. This is because a jury is more likely to provide favorable compensation to a person with whom they can identify. If you post negative or inappropriate remarks on social media, they could be used to paint you in a negative light. Spiteful comments regarding the defendant can also make it appear that you are out for revenge, not merely seeking the compensation you deserve. Any statements you make have the potential to turn the jury against your case, thus making it very important to be cautious when sharing online.

Ultimately, the very best practice regarding social media during your personal injury case is to refrain from having any social media activity at all. If you do choose to share, though, be aware of the possible impacts that posts can have on your case. At the very least, ensure you avoid any mention of the defendant or your case.

Our team is always ready to provide you with trusted advice, counsel, and legal strategy. If you have suffered an injury or have any questions, contact us at info@spitlerwilliams-young.law or 419-242-1555.

1 Clement, J. (2020, January 30) Number of monthly active Facebook users worldwide as of 4th quarter 2019. Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/264810/number-of-monthly-active-facebook-users-worldwide/.