Social Media was introduced to the worldwide web in 1996. The number of social networking users have gone from 970 million in 2010 to the number passing 4.48 billion users in July 2021. Facebook is the leading social network with 2.9 billion monthly active users, followed by YouTube (2.3 billion), WhatsApp (2 billion), FB Messenger (1.3 billion), and WeChat (1.2 billion). However, the use of social media has been known to cause serious issues in personal injury cases.
It is common for people to post real-time events on social media. The posts and events can have a variety of topics. People post about food or in some cases a controversial article or picture. However, when people file claims in court for personal and physical injuries but post pictures of bungee jumping the following week, this can obviously cause problems for your case. Insurance adjusters and opposing attorneys are well-known to scour the internet and social media posts to find social media posts that may be damaging to you and your case in court. It is vital to be mindful of social media posts when you are involved in a lawsuit. Social media is powerful and ever-present in our lives and is useful (positively or negatively) in communicating a state of mind. However, there are many pitfalls to the use of social media. For example, even though someone is posting a happy picture, it may not necessarily be true that they are thrilled in that moment. Social media, for all of its use, lacks context and background. However, having to explain to a jury why you are smiling in pictures two days after a horrible accident is never a comfortable experience.
It is absolutely not helpful for your case if you are posting on social media in a way that negates what you are claiming in court. To avoid such mistakes, you should take immediate precautions and exercise restraint when posting on your social media accounts. The list of precautions is limitless, but here are some common ways to protect yourself on social media.
(1) Avoid posts about the accident as these types of posts are prime targets that insurance companies would like to see and use against you.
(2) Avoid mentioning anything about your medical condition, injuries, treatments, recovery process, or feelings about your health.
(3) These types of updates could conflict with the statements that you present to the court and hurt your case.
(4) Increase your privacy settings so that individuals you do not know cannot access your personal information.
(5) Perform a Google search of your name to see what insurance companies would see if they did the same. Try to make any listings that you do not want others to see private or remove them altogether.
At Houston Injury Lawyers, we have heard many times from a client that their social media posts are fine, or that they post under another name. However, this overlooks the simple fact that a common request in the discovery process of a lawsuit to request a person’s social media handles, e-mail addresses, and verification of all social media sites in which a person has an account. In fact, social media sites are often subpoenaed for this information. Many folks have a mistaken belief that that their information is encrypted or can’t be found – until they are faced with answering questions in Court about their chats and their posts. Never assume that just because you may post under a different name, or that your chats are “encrypted,” – that this information won’t be found or acquired.
In general, if you have a phone, you certainly have one or more of the social media apps on your phone. It is important to understand how your posts and everyday life events on social media can affect your legal rights. At Houston Injury Lawyers, we believe in strict management of your case which involves reading all emails before they are sent to insurance companies, reviewing text messages, pulling clients off social media sites so no material can be used against them. And certainly we ask our clients to check with us first before posting social media content so that it cannot be used against them later. The client’s entire case gets prepared swiftly and effectively to obtain finality. This approach ensures nothing is left to chance.
If you were involved in a crash and looking for attorneys to win your case, call Houston Injury Lawyers PLLC at (713) 366-HURT.
At Houston Injury Lawyers, PLLC, our firm focuses on representing those who have suffered a personal injury through the entire recovery process – physical, emotional, and financial recovery from injuries. We help clients tip the balance of justice into their favor through our years of experience and expertise and our vigorous representation of injured clients. Our care and preparation are the keys to our success. The lawyers at Houston Injury Lawyers, PLLC, can help you navigate this issue and answer any questions that you may have. If you would like to speak to someone about your situation or for a free consultation, call our office at (713) 366-HURT (4878)—Tip the Balance in Your Favor.