Social media has become a huge part of our daily lives. People post about big life events such as weddings, births, and anniversaries, as well as the little parts of daily life. But posting on social media after a car accident could be a big mistake.
From the moment of the accident to the end of the case, the other driver’s lawyers and insurers will be looking for ways to avoid paying you money. Your social media accounts are one of the places that they will look. This article will explain how social media posts can hurt your car accident claim.
How Alabama Car Accident Injury Cases Work
To win an Alabama injury case, you have to prove negligence. Negligence is a legal way of saying that someone was careless. To prove negligence, you’ll have to show:
- That the person who hit you was supposed to drive carefully but failed to do so;
- That you were injured in the accident; and
- That the other driver’s failure to drive carefully was the cause of your injuries.
The other driver (and their attorney or insurance company) will try to show that they were driving carefully. But they will also try to prove that you weren’t injured or that your injuries aren’t as serious as you claim. (This is true for both physical and emotional injuries.) They might also claim that you caused the accident. Under Alabama law, someone who is even slightly responsible for an accident cannot recover damages.
In addition to doing any or all of the above, the other driver will also try to attack your credibility. If they can show that you have not been completely honest about any part of the accident, it will be easier for them to convince a jury that you were not truthful about other things.
How Social Media Posts Can Hurt Your Accident Case
As explained above, the other driver will try to discount your injuries, claim that you caused the accident, and attack your credibility. Your social media posts can help them do just that.
Posts that can help them attack your credibility. You post a Facebook status update at 9:00 p.m. saying, “I got into an accident an hour ago. I can’t believe it!” But the traffic cameras show that the accident happened at 7:00 p.m. It may not seem like a big deal, but the other driver can use your post to claim that your statements about the accident are not reliable.
Posts that can help them prove that you were at fault. You post on X (formerly known as Twitter) minutes after the accident: “Got in an accident. They came out of nowhere!” Believe it or not, even a seemingly innocent statement like this can be used to prove that you caused the crash. If they “came out of nowhere,” maybe you weren’t paying attention.
Posts that can help them discount your injuries. You get in an accident on August 1. You claim that the accident caused serious back injuries and also severe depression. Several months later, you post a batch of Instagram pics that show you on vacation, smiling and walking along the beach. The caption reads, “Living my best life!”
This post might seem okay at first glance, but it is a gift to the other side. They’ll use your walk on the beach to argue that you’ve exaggerated your injuries. Worse, they’ll use your smile and caption to dispute your pain and suffering claims.
Other examples of problematic posts. Here are some other types of posts that can complicate your injury claim.
Check-ins. Showing your location can be a problem, especially if you’re checking in at places like gyms. Again, this will be used to downplay your injuries.
Over-posting. It might seem strange, but posting on social media too much after the accident will help the other driver. If your posting habits don’t change after the accident, the other side will argue that your life hasn’t changed much. This will make it harder to prove emotional injuries.
Other people’s posts. After an accident, you have to be careful not only about what you post but also what others post about you. If your mother tags you in a happy, smiling photo, it could be used against you later. Your comments about your body, activities, and mood on other’s posts might also cause issues with your case.
All of these examples show the many ways that social media can harm your car accident case.
How Your Social Media Posts Are Found
Finding your social media posts is much easier than you might think.
Of course, your publicly available posts are available for everyone to see. If you have a public profile, the other driver’s legal team will be able to find them as soon as they know your screen name.
If you’re thinking that setting your posts to private will help, it won’t. Privacy settings can be bypassed in several ways. Insurance agents and legal investigators often send friend requests to claimants. Sometimes, they use comments on a mutual friend’s post to learn information.
Also, during a personal injury lawsuit, the attorneys use something called discovery. During discovery, the lawyers get to ask the other side for specific pieces of information. Discovery involves court orders, so if the other side asks for your private social media records, you’ll have to provide them.
What to Do if You’ve Already Posted About Your Accident
If you’ve already made posts about the accident, do not delete them. Deleting the posts will make it seem like you have something to hide. Also, deleting the posts will not erase them completely. Social media companies keep all content, so even deleted posts can be recovered.
If you’ve already made social media posts about your accident, don’t worry. An Alabama personal injury lawyer can help you. Your accident attorney will know how to handle your social media mistakes. If the other side tries to use them against you, your lawyer will be able to counter their arguments with solid evidence.
Handling Social Media After Your Car Accident
If you have questions about how social media can hurt your accident claim or need an accident lawyer, Collins Law, LLC can help. Our firm has helped many injured people in Alabama. Whether you’ve been in a car crash, a trucking accident, or another motor vehicle collision, we will fight for your rights and work hard to get you the compensation you need to get your life back on track. If you think our firm can help you, call 205-588-1411 or use our website’s online scheduling tool to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.