Social media is so prevalent in everyday life that you may not think about how it might have the potential to hurt you. Whether it’s a Facebook page, a Twitter profile, or an Instagram, the content and pictures you post can have a serious impact if you are involved in a personal injury case. You may think that the things you post are private, especially if you have strong account privacy features in place, but at the end of the day those pictures and posts can indeed come back to bite you.
Let’s just say you’ve been in a car accident and are suing for pain and suffering. You’ve claimed that, due to the injuries sustained in your accident, you can no longer live the active lifestyle you once enjoyed. If you’re making this claim, you better believe the lawyers on the other side will be watching your social media activity and will be very interested in that Facebook photo you posted while hiking. As a matter of fact, that lone picture can be the smoking gun that loses your case.
Even if you have privacy controls on your accounts, the full content of any account can always be subpoenaed. The same goes for comments and photos you post on other’s pages. For example, if you posted a comment on a friend’s page stating something along the lines of, “Wanna’ go mountain biking next weekend?” this too can lose your case. If you’re experiencing pain and suffering which prevents you from leading that active lifestyle, then how can you be mountain biking next weekend?
So how do you go about making sure this doesn’t happen? Of course the most effective solution is to completely disable all of your social media accounts. Shut down that Facebook page. Turn off your Twitter feed. Delete your Instagram and SnapChat. Another important thing to do: let family and friends know not to post anything on their accounts regarding your case. This will keep you clean.
To really make sure your internet profile is scrubbed clean, one of the best solutions is also one of the easiest: Just Google yourself. You know the lawyers on the other side will be Googling you, so get a head start by just typing your name and hitting search. Anything that comes up that may look iffy in regards to your case you can get a head start on trying to eliminate. For example, if a photo comes up listing you as a participant in a local Atlanta 5K, you can email the organizers and ask that your name be taken down.
Don’t destroy your case by posting online evidence that may be used against you down the line. Since the easiest source for this evidence is social media, either delete your accounts or limit what you say or post. Your personal injury case may depend on it.