Impact of Social Media on Personal Injury Claims

The increasing popularity of sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is a testament to how integral social media has become in modern society. Over 65 percent of U.S. adults use a form of social media, according to a 2016 survey conducted by The Pew Research Center. However, while these sites may be excellent platforms for socialization and networking, they may also be a personal injury plaintiff’s downfall.

Those pursuing personal injury claims usually seek damages not only for medical expenses associated with their injury, but also for pain and suffering resulting from the injury. To prove these claims, evidence is introduced in the form of medical records, photographic and journal entry documentation, and testimony from friends and family who can corroborate the extent of the injury’s impact.

The defense may attempt to avoid or mitigate liability by minimizing the plaintiffs’ injuries and refuting the plaintiffs’ claims for pain and suffering. In this pursuit, they may interview plaintiffs’ employers, family, friends, and neighbors. It also used to be commonplace for the defense to hire a private investigator who would sleuth for days, weeks, or months on end, waiting to capture an incriminating picture of a plaintiff mowing the lawn, lifting heavy objects, or enjoying a night out with friends. Today, the defendant’s job is made easier by plaintiffs who unwittingly provide the defense with all the evidence they need, without the detective work.

First, evidence such as posts, pictures, or videos from social media may be used by the defense to discredit a plaintiff’s claim of pain and suffering due to physical injury. Second, defendants may attempt to use social media evidence to disprove a claim of emotional distress with posts that depict the plaintiff as happy and cheerful. Finally, a plaintiff’s negative posts about the defendant may also be used to show that the plaintiff’s suit stemmed from something other than their injury, such as revenge or greed. There are countless examples of plaintiffs who lost their personal injury cases because of their own posts on social media.

Anything you post, along with anything posted about you, on social media can be used against you in court. A seemingly innocuous post can be extremely detrimental to your personal injury case. There are some precautions you can take to help ensure that social media is not used against you in your personal injury case:

  • Keep a low profile and do not post anything you would not want shown in court
  • Do not accept friend requests from people you do not know
  • Make sure your settings are on maximum privacy
  • Ask friends to refrain from posting anything about you
  • Suspend your social media accounts

Cherry Hill Personal Injury Lawyers at Folkman Law Offices, P.C. Help Navigate Modern Complexities of Personal Injury Cases

If you have suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence, the Cherry Hill personal injury lawyers at Folkman Law Offices, P.C. may be able to provide you with representation. At Folkman Law, our experienced personal injury lawyers fight for justice and are committed to obtaining the best possible outcome in your case. With offices in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, we represent clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Contact us online or call us at 856-354-9444 to discuss your case.