They’re Watching: How Social Media Can Ruin Your Case

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How often do you use your smartphone? Whether to send an email, Google search, make a call, or use your favorite application, one thing is for certain– Americans are connected to their phones. “A study by global tech protection and support company Asurion found that the average person struggles to go little more than 10 minutes without checking their phone.”SWNS, Americans Check Their Phones 80 Times A Day: Study. So, chances are by the time you have finished reading this blog you will have checked your phone at least once. With such a heavy reliance on smartphones, it is not shocking that our social media posts are viewed by many individuals. This not only includes friends, but possibly the opposing counsel to your case. 

Personal Injury Cases and Social Media

If there is one important takeaway you get from this blog it is: what you post on a social media website can and will likely be used against you in court. Regardless if you use Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Linkedin, TikTok or any other website, you must be mindful of what you post. For example, let’s say you were involved in an automobile accident claiming an ankle injury. Then, an individual from opposing counsel searches your Facebook and finds a picture/post of you dancing the night away at a nightclub in heels. Controversial pictures/posts may be used as evidence that is against you.  The argument expected can go something like this: “As you see in Exhibit A, Plaintiff claimed to have injured her ankle. Yet, here she is, 3 weeks after the accident dancing and having the time of her life, all while in heels. Does this look like an activity that someone with an injured ankle would be partaking in?” 

Even a simple post of you working out at the gym after an accident, can completely demolish the validity of your Personal injury claim. From taking a vacation to posting boomerangs when you’re out to dinner on Instagram, a simple social media post may seriously ruin your chances of receiving monetary awards in your favor. 

Furthermore, taking the vacation scenario, if you are the driver or even a passenger on a plane, the defense counsel can state that your injury is not severe as you proclaim, because you are still capable of driving hours for a trip. They will also attack the credibility of your injury when you are sitting on a plane for a prolonged period of time and continue to be physically capable of carrying your heavy luggage.  The simple boomerang you posted that you believed was harmless may indicate that you clearly feel well enough to go out to dinner with your family and friends. Your dinner may also include alcoholic cocktails and if you are prescribed specific pain medications after an accident, this will demonstrate a lack of diligence and ill character.

In Romano v. Steelcase, an office worker filed a complaint against a chair manufacturing company after her chair collapsed while she was working. She complained that she suffered mental anguish, which did not allow her to leave her home or socialize with friends. However, after defense counsel did some simple social media digging, they found that the woman posted photos of herself outside of her home. Defense also looked at the number of friends she had online, emojis she used on her posts, and the frequency of her posts. All with a few simple clicks, the defense counsel was able to make a case that the woman did not suffer from severe mental anguish. 

Limit Your Posts

Here at Van Law Firm, we advise all of our clients to be mindful of what they post on social media, while their case is ongoing. So, we have compiled 3 tips for you:

  1. Make sure your account is private. 
  2. Only accept friend requests etc. from individuals you personally know and trust.
  3. Do not post anything while your case is ongoing, instead call friends and family members to keep in the social loop.

Social media can be the deciding factor in whether you win or lose your case. Our office is here to help you and we want you to get the best compensation possible. Call us today at 702-529-1011.