As of 2020, 72% of Americans state that they use at least one type of social media platform regularly. On the other hand, 5% of all civil cases that are filed in court were found to be Torts or personal injury cases. With these numbers in mind, it would not be wrong to presume that plaintiffs involved in personal injury lawsuits are most likely active on some social media platform. Moreover, due to social media, it has become easy for people to find information about others quite easily, highlighting the importance of responsible social media usage, now more than ever.
Here are a few ways in which social media can transformatively affect your personal injury lawsuit:
Personal injury lawsuits are created based on the event that has caused harm to the plaintiff, as described by them. Of course, any additional evidence that you provide will make your lawsuit stronger, but the foremost thing considered for the lawsuit is your testimony in which you provide a detailed account of the events that took place, and how you were injured. It is no surprise that memory can be fickle and can change a few details over time, but if this reflects in your social media posts, the outcome of your lawsuit may be affected negatively.
For instance, you may have gotten injured while staying in a hotel, due to their negligence in repairing their furniture. If you had severe injuries as a result, you may even want to file a personal injury lawsuit against the hotel and get compensation for the pain and ordeal that you had to go through. However, if you then posted about the same on social media and details are a bit changed, it makes your testimony look less credible. The defending party can easily point out that you have exaggerated your injuries or negative experience in the hotel, making it difficult for you to get fair compensation.
Updates about recent activities
In the world that we live in today, where everyone is connected through social media, you might find yourself updating quite often about your activities and whereabouts. But what we often do not realize is that even the most casual status update, picture, or video can contain details that can reveal a lot of things about you and your surroundings. Due to this reason, many cases have been able to use social media positively to support their statements, but the same can also be used to contradict yours. The activities that you post about and the tone you take reflect your physical and emotional well-being and you should be careful about what you post if you have an ongoing lawsuit.
For instance, if you met with an accident, and have claimed compensation considering the many injuries that you sustained as a result, your social media would also need to reflect the same. If you end up posting about a trip that you took after the accident or an adventure sport that you tried out, it might seem like you exaggerated your injuries. Such posts can potentially help the defense in negotiating a lower amount of compensation in the lawsuit.
Posts about the lawsuit
You can have many followers and might even want them to be updated about a whole array of things that happen in your day-to-day life. But a lawsuit does not necessarily fit within that list. A personal injury lawsuit just like any other lawsuit will require you to hold a party responsible for injuries that have been sustained by you. You can rest assured that the defense will go through your social media to find incriminating evidence that can help them lower the settlement or not pay at all. With that much at stake, it is necessary for you to be responsible about your social media behavior and refrain from posting anything about the lawsuit that might jeopardize your claim.
For instance, if you have been injured in a slip-and-fall accident in a property owned by the defending party, and you want to hold them accountable for their negligence, you must refrain from posting about the defending party, the property, or the accident. Even if you want to post about it, you should be careful about how to do it, and avoid posting statements and posts that might contradict or complicate your personal injury lawsuit. It is always a good idea to show any related posts that you have on your social media to your lawyer so that they can advise you about the risks associated with it if any.
Having a public profile
Social media can help you stay connected to people around the world, and can even help in finding old acquaintances that you have lost touch with. However, it has never been more important to keep a check on your social media privacy settings than now, when so much data is easily vulnerable. When your post is on a public profile, which provides access to everyone on the Internet, your posts can be accessed and misused by many. Changing your security settings, and making your profile private and accessible only to the ones that you allow can be the first step towards a safer social media experience.
For instance, if you have gotten injured as a result of a fender bender, caused due to the negligence of the other driver, you can definitely file a personal injury lawsuit to claim compensation for the medical treatment and damages to your vehicle. However, if your social media account reflects a history of accidents, or negligent driving behavior, or even something as simple as a picture or a video that you shot while driving, it might allow the defense to assert that your testimony is not credible and even that your actions might have played a role in causing the accident. Keeping your profile private will help you filter the people that you want to grant access to your posts.
People rely on social media to get information about any individual and getting personal information has become easy. Since the defendant is likely to go through your social media and find any information that might be incriminating or detrimental to your lawsuit, it is important to practice responsible social media behavior. Taking simple steps such as keeping a check on your posts and language, as well as refraining from talking about the lawsuit can go a long way. Simply avoiding such mistakes, and others that may jeopardize your personal injury lawsuit can help you get the settlement that you are going for.