When something important happens to you, the first thing you probably want to do is post it on your social media. This is something that has become part of our lifestyle, and most of the time, it isn’t a problem. However, posting pictures on Facebook or Instagram after an accident is a very bad idea and can hurt your case.
If you have been in a car accident or any other serious accident, you must put your social media on standby. Although you want to reassure your family and friends and let them know you’re doing okay, you need to be careful about where and how you let them know. The information posted on social media accounts can destroy a lawsuit.
Expectations of Privacy and Online Accounts
In 2009, Nathalie Blanchard went on vacation. After a year’s struggle with serious depression, her doctor advised her to spend time with her family away from home. Ms. Blanchard posted a photo of herself and her family on a beach, and her employer happened to see it. Subsequently, Ms. Blanchard lost her health insurance because her boss decided she couldn’t be too depressed if she was smiling and having fun on a beach.
Even though you think your social media accounts are “private,” they are not private according to the law. You have no expectation of privacy if any third person can see what you post. On most social media platforms, even when you have turned all your settings to “private,” friends can still allow their friends to access your pages. Community sites and “members only” sites are open to people you do not know.
After an accident, insurance companies, attorneys, and other individuals may be reviewing your social media, as Nathalie Blanchard discovered. Most of the time, the insurance companies will not be spying on you, but in situations where the facts of a case are contested, you need to be careful. For instance, if you are claiming that you were seriously injured, the opposing side may be looking for evidence you were not hurt. This is when pictures of you on the beach can be trouble.
One thing Nathalie did right was to talk to a doctor about her condition. That is one of the first steps you should take when you are considering pursuing a personal injury claim.
The second thing you should do is to consult a lawyer. An experienced personal injury attorney can advise you on how to collect evidence from witnesses, how to speak with insurance companies, and what kind of damages you can seek compensation for.
Schedule a free initial consultation about your case with a lawyer from Goings Law Firm, LLC. Our legal team is committed to defending your rights and making sure that justice is upheld.
What You Can Do
There are some things to do if you have a social media account. You should consult an attorney when you have been in an accident and have multiple platforms to consider.
- Stay off your accounts. The best thing to do is to just stop posting. If people ask about you, contact them via email or phone. If you posted anything just after the accident, let that be the last thing you posted.
- Turn all your security settings as high as they will go. If you must continue to use social media, for instance, for work or community obligations, make sure that nobody can access your page without your knowledge. Avoid posting any recent photos, and do not comment on your case. If anyone asks, refer them to your attorney. This is what “no comment” was created for.
- If you are a professional influencer, Instagrammer, Tik-Tokker, or another person who uses social media for a living, be especially careful. Keep yourself out of your images as much as possible. Again, avoid discussing your accident and your case. If possible, put your account on hold until your case is resolved.
Do Not Take Anything Down
After hearing all these dire warnings, you may be tempted to run to your social media accounts and take everything down. This is a bad idea. The legal term for destroying potential evidence is “spoliation.” Destroying evidence is not a crime unless you receive a letter from the opposing counsel telling you not to do it, but it looks suspicious. After all, why would you run to Facebook and start taking pictures down unless something was wrong?
If there are pictures or posts on your social media that you believe might look bad, you should contact your attorney. A legal professional will be able to tell you if anything needs to be removed or explained to opposing counsel. You’re probably safe enough. Things are seldom as bad as you think. But ask a lawyer to be sure.
The attorneys of Goings Law Firm, LLC are experienced, professional, and compassionate. We work hard to make sure that our clients are able to get the compensation needed to recover from an accident.
Contact a Columbia Lawyer Now
If you’ve been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you should contact a Columbia personal injury lawyer from Goings Law Firm, LLC whether you have a social media question or not. Reach out to us today to set up a free and confidential consultation. We will be glad to help. Call us at (803) 350-9230 today.