Five Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Post About Your Accident on Social Media
After an accident, you may want to take to social media. You may want the support of your friends or want people to hear you because it weighs on your mind.
Whatever your motivation for posting on social media, do not do it. Nothing good can come from putting your thoughts into the public realm, and plenty of bad can come from it. In the worst-case scenario, an ill-advised post can cost you money.
Maintain social media silence: A car accident lawyer will tell you this as soon as you hire them. If you have not yet hired an attorney, take this advice not to post about your accident on social media. Not only should you not comment on the accident directly, but avoid putting too much information about your life into the public realm. This is where Big Brother—or the insurance company—will watch you.
Insurance Companies Go to Great Lengths to Deny Claims
The insurance company realizes that they may have to pay you a lot of money for the actions of their policyholder. They exist to make money for their shareholders, not pay claims to injured victims.
An insurance company tries to reduce its liability by hiring someone to investigate you. If you think that this is illegal, you should think again. Insurance companies can even hire someone who can follow you, so long as they do not look inside your home. Tracking your social media posts is low-hanging fruit for an insurance company because it can take an investigator minutes to look at your postings from the comfort of their own home.
It might dismay you to know that your posts are fair game in an insurance claim. They can even come back to haunt you in other ways if you are proven to have said something untruthful in an insurance claim.
What you may think is an innocuous statement can harm you in several ways. First, if you post something about the accident, the insurance company has your story in your words. A court can admit your posts as evidence. Your version of the story, or even pictures you post, can undercut your story about what happened.
Second, the insurance company may use anything you post about your medical condition to undermine your claims. For example, you can claim that you suffered a severe injury. If you post something like “I’m okay. The accident was not that bad,” the insurance company may take that as a sign that you are not hurt as badly. They may use it as grounds to dispute your damages or deny your claim.
Some people may try to use social media to put on a brave face to the world and let everyone know that they will be alright. When it comes to an accident with personal injury, silence is the best policy.
You Could Inadvertently Waive Attorney-Client Privilege
There is a complex legal rule that people can even violate unknowingly, causing severe damage to their accident case. The law protects communications you have with your lawyer to encourage you to get legal help and share things with the attorney whose job it is to help you. This concept is known as attorney-client privilege, but it is not unlimited.
Without even knowing it, you can inadvertently waive attorney-client privilege—for example, if you discuss what you told your attorney with someone else. You do not even have to talk about it. Putting information you discussed with your attorney on social media can waive your attorney-client privilege and undercut your case.
People often do not make a conscious decision to waive attorney-client privilege. Instead, they do it accidentally and unknowingly. It does not matter whether you did it accidentally. The rules remain the same.
When you waive attorney-client privilege, you harm your case. Usually, when opposing counsel asks a question about what you talked about with your lawyer, your lawyer will object because your communications are privileged. The second you tell someone other than your lawyer about the same topic, you lose the protection of the privilege. Then, opposing counsel can ask, and you must answer.
If you made a damaging admission to your lawyer or divulged facts that hurt your case, the information can fall into the hands of the other side. A social media post qualifies as telling someone else. In this case, you told many people.
Your Old Posts Never Completely Go Away
Once you post online, it will remain available in some form forever. Even if you have deleted the post, there may still be a way to capture an old post that you removed through a historical version of the search function. It is tough to make an old post permanently disappear. Authorities and experts can still forensically obtain your old posts. A post history is accessible, and the insurance company can use it against you.
If you post something and then delete it, the insurance company may still know about it. Then, you may look as if you have something to hide. This can damage your credibility to an insurance claim or a jury.
If you have already made some social media posts about the accident, you should not panic. Chances are that you did this before you had an attorney because your lawyer will almost always advise you when you first hire them not to speak publicly about the accident.
- Speak to your lawyer about what, if anything, to do next
- Do not post anything more in the future about the accident
Insurance Companies Will Take Your Words out of Context
An insurance company can take the words you post online and use them out of context or blow them out of proportion to better suit their purposes.
In the heat of the moment or the days after the accident, your emotions are at their most raw. That is when you may say something you’re later forced to regret. You are not necessarily thinking clearly at that time or aware of how someone you do not know may perceive your words.
Act as if you are on trial or under investigation when you file a claim or lawsuit.
If you need support, talk to your lawyer.
It goes beyond the emotions you exhibit after the accident. If you post a picture of yourself smiling, some may view it at odds with your claim that you suffer from anxiety or depression.
Stay off social media until your car accident claim or lawsuit ends.
You Do Not Want Anyone to Know What You Think
Finally, posting on social media while your claim is pending may give the other side a window into your thinking. You may write a post that blames the other driver or describes how they caused the accident. They and their insurance company now understand what you might say if you go to trial. If you rip the insurance company for making you a low offer, they can draw inferences that they can use against you, either in negotiations or in court.
If your case goes to court, the insurance company can use your social media posts to contradict your testimony. If opposing counsel calls you to the stand, they will have your posts in hand. If they asked you questions under oath and you gave answers inconsistent with your testimony, they will call your entire case into question.
In any trial, opposing counsel can impeach your testimony if it has evidence that bears on your credibility. The jury or judge will not believe your entire testimony because evidence suggests you are not telling the truth in some part of your case. You can undermine your trustworthiness as a witness if your case goes to a jury.
If your case goes to trial, opposing counsel can get their hands on your private posts in the discovery process and gain access to relevant evidence to your testimony and case. If damaging evidence exists, expect opposing counsel to find it and damage your chances of a settlement.
Injury Lawyers Can Help You Avoid Costly Mistakes
It is crucial not to make any mistakes after an accident that can hurt your legal situation. The longer you go without an attorney, the more at risk you are of doing something wrong. You may not know that it was counterproductive and damaging simultaneously, but that will not minimize the effect of a mistake. You can make mistakes without knowing them, which can cost you money.
The second you hire an accident and personal injury lawyer, they will advise you what you should and should not do. They will tell you upfront to maintain strict radio silence about your accident.
Insurance companies are often large corporations with vast resources. They have teams of investigators that represent the insurance company’s interests, not yours. If the insurance company sees an opportunity to pay you less, it will act on it.
Most importantly, your injury attorney will serve as your counselor and advisor. You must deal with the legal situation in ways that you may not know on your own. Any misstep can undermine your efforts, especially unforced errors like saying too much. Contact us today to receive your consultation.