Controlling Your Case: The Snags of Social Media

October 12, 2023 Accident Attorney Uncategorized

When you get into an accident — whether it be at work or on the road — the legal, medical, and financial results can be both frustrating and far-reaching. Generally, you contact the appropriate insurance companies and hope to get compensation quickly. Unfortunately, the aftermath of an accident rarely proceeds so simply. Between unhelpful insurance companies, disagreements about what caused the accident, and many other factors beyond your control, the process is often slow and frustrating, and you end up with a fraction of what you deserve.

There is one factor that often creates additional complexity in a case that is within your control, however. After almost any accident, the insurance company and lawyers for the other party will scour your social media, looking for any statements you made or other evidence that can be used to lay blame on you for the accident or lessen your compensation. Even a seemingly innocent comment can potentially be used to deny you thousands of dollars or more.

At Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, we can help protect you from making costly mistakes in your case, including with social media. Many people don’t realize the impact social media can have on the final outcome of their case. Here is why using caution with your social media is crucial after an injury and which key mistakes you need to avoid.

How Insurance Investigators and Adjusters Can Use Your Social Media

There are effectively no limits on how insurance companies can use the contents of your social media during the claim process. Everything you post on social media is considered public information unless you hide it behind privacy settings. And even then, the information you post may be open game if the insurance company receives information from someone authorized to see what you posted. Virtually the only restriction is that the insurance company can’t illegally access your social media or use fraud to obtain access.

Insurance companies understand the subtleties of insurance law much better than the average person. Thus, even posting something as benign as “I feel much better today than yesterday” could cost you money. The insurance company could use that statement to claim that your injuries aren’t as serious as you say they are and then refuse to pay some of your medical bills.

How to Avoid the Snags of Social Media

The best way to avoid having your social media activity impact your case is to avoid posting anything about your accident to social media. If you don’t post anything, that limits what the insurance company can use against you. However, even avoiding posting about the accident may not be enough. Any post you make after an accident could cost you money, even if it doesn’t relate to your accident.

For example, if you post a picture of yourself at a ski resort a few weeks after an accident, this picture could be used as evidence by the insurance company to dispute your injury claims. Even worse, someone else’s social media post about you could be used to hurt your case. This means that not only do you need to be careful about what you post on social media, but you also need to monitor what your friends and family post as well.

Does this mean you need to drop off social media completely? If you can afford to, at least for a while, you probably should. But that isn’t reasonable for many people, especially if social media is the only way you have to communicate with friends and family.

If you cannot completely refrain from posting on social media after an accident, then it’s vital for you to heighten all of your privacy settings. Not only will this prevent the insurance company from reading posts you make after the accident, but it will also prevent the company from accessing your past posts. It is possible something you said years ago could hurt your case. By tightening your privacy settings, you won’t have to scour your old posts for potential complications.

Sharing Information Responsibly

If you get hurt in a car accident, you will probably want to tell your relatives, at a bare minimum. This is entirely reasonable. However, just because you want to let them know what is going on doesn’t mean you should share everything. The best way to share information, if possible, is in person.

But in-person communication is not always possible. If you need to use social media to communicate, make sure to limit the ways you use it. Private messages are much safer than posts that are visible to multiple people, even ones hidden behind multiple layers of security. And if you really need to inform many people at once, try to keep the details to a minimum, sharing only the facts. When in doubt, you should speak to you Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law attorney before posting anything about the incident.

Social Media Posts at Trial

Most accident cases end with a settlement. But occasionally, insurance companies will refuse to negotiate in good faith. And when that happens, you will likely need to take the insurance company to court (through litigation that commences with the filing of a lawsuit) to get the compensation you deserve. This makes your social media posts even more relevant.

Once a case enters into litigation, the attorney for the insurance company can potentially subpoena social media companies to provide records of your social media posts. This means that even if you have the strongest possible privacy settings, the insurance company may be able to get around them. Thus, a post that you intended for only a few people to see may become an exhibit for everyone to see in court. This is why it’s critical for you to work closely with your attorney after an accident, including discussions about your social media habits and settings.

The only major protection you have once a trial begins is that the jury is precluded from accessing outside information about the case or anyone involved in it so that it remains impartial. This means that if the insurance company isn’t aware of the problematic post you made on Discord, the jury can’t uncover it and then use that information to rule against you.

Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law Can Help You Safely Use Social Media

All too often, the first time a client seeks legal assistance is after an insurance company has denied their claim because of something they posted on social media. By following these tips for managing social media after an accident, you can better protect your claim and ensure a better outcome.

Perhaps the most important step to take after you’re injured is to immediately contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. At Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, we can help you set up safeguards for your online presence and guide you on how to safely use social media until you receive a settlement or a jury award. With a skilled attorney on your side, you can avoid the mistakes that many others make. Call us now at 713-973-8888 or toll-free 1-800-444-5000 for a free case evaluation with a one of our experienced and compassionate accident attorneys.

Attorney Terry Bryant

Attorney Terry BryantTerry Bryant is Board Certified in personal injury trial law, which means his extensive knowledge of the law has been recognized by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, setting him apart from many other injury attorneys. The 22 years he spent as a Municipal Judge, Spring Valley Village, TX also provides him keen insight into the Texas court system. That experience also helps shape his perspective on personal injury cases and how they might resolve. This unique insight benefits his clients. [ Attorney Bio ]

Table of Contents