How Is Social Media Affecting Car Accident Cases?

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Legally reviewed by Alex Uriarte on November 9, 2022 Alex Uriarte is a member of the 1-800-Injured network.

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It seems like these days, nothing happens without being posted, shared, tweeted, or snapped. Social media has become a pervasive part of our lives, and it’s no surprise that it is playing a role in car accident cases as well.

It may feel totally normal to post something about being in a car accident, especially if you know that your friends and loved ones will be worried about you. Wanting to share an encouraging post about working on your recovery or assuring everyone that you are ok is natural. Unfortunately, something as simple as a reassuring social media post directed to your friends can come back to haunt you.

In the past, evidence in car accident cases was mainly limited to physical items like police reports, photographs of the scene, and medical documents. But now social media plays a factor in evidence about the cause of the crash and evidence about the aftermath or a victim’s experience — much of which benefits the insurers who are trying to pay as little as possible on a claim.

The Insurer Is Waiting For You To Slip up

You may already be aware of the surprising fact that even apologizing at the scene of a crash can be used as evidence against you while an insurer tries to pin additional fault on you. When you think about this, it doesn’t come as a surprise that an insurer would comb through your social media posts to find any shred of “evidence” that they can use to deny your claim or reduce the amount they have to pay out.

That’s why it’s best to avoid using social media when you have been in a car accident: you don’t want anything you post online to be misinterpreted by an insurance company and used against you. Something like a picture of you relaxing on a beach, sitting with friends out to dinner, or even hugging your dear old Nana. Each of these activities could be misconstrued as a sign of your supposedly “normal” life, which the insurer will try to use as proof that you aren’t experiencing any significant pain or suffering after the crash.

If you have already posted something online, it’s important to consider deleting it if possible and forego posting anything else until after your case is settled.

How Social Media Can Be Used As Evidence Against You

Insurers make their money by paying as little as possible on claims, so they want to find any evidence that will allow them to do this. Much like simple procedural errors or innocuous statements during a phone interview will be leveraged as evidence that the victim deserves less money, social media posts can be used in several ways against people who are involved in car accidents:

  • To show the injured party was not really as badly hurt as they claimed if they post pictures of themselves participating in activities or appearing “happy and healthy.”
  • To show the injured party has a financial interest in the outcome of their case if they post about being in litigation or suing someone.
  • To imply recklessness, particularly if posts contain references to driving dangerously or drinking alcohol prior to an accident.
  • To suggest that an injured party was not actually injured or experiencing pain and suffering, as evidenced by any “normal” social media post.
  • To imply that a party was distracted while driving due to posts referencing the use of a mobile device, or participating in activities other than driving when they should have been paying attention to the road.

We aren’t saying that any of these points are valid all the time or that they are ever valid. Still, the reality is that after an accident, you need to remember that there is a team of professionals with a vested interest in not paying you the money you deserve. They will use every scrap of evidence against you, so it’s much better that you don’t give them any ammunition.

Ultimately, it is best to avoid posting anything online about your case until after it is settled — not just to protect it but also to maintain your privacy. Your social media posts are public (even if you have your account set to private), so it’s important to remember that anything you post can be used as evidence against you and could end up in the hands of an insurer.

It Isn’t Just Social Media: Keep Your Case To Yourself

In addition to refraining from any social media posts, it’s also a good idea to avoid discussing your case with anyone outside of your legal team. When you do talk to others about the accident, don’t dwell on the details or provide too much detail about what happened; stick to the basics and keep yourself safe by not providing anything that could be used as evidence against you.

Finally, if an insurance adjuster contacts you to discuss the case and asks a lot of questions, remember that they are not on your side and even innocuous answers could be used as evidence against you later. Always refer an insurer to your lawyer so they can handle the communication on your behalf — they know how to navigate these conversations to keep you and your case safe.

When In Doubt, Connect with a Lawyer

You might be under the impression that your situation is different or that you’ve thought through the implications and are certain that your post won’t be misconstrued. However, given the complexity of insurance law and the legal system, it is always best to consult a lawyer if you are unsure. An experienced attorney who understands insurance policies will put your mind at ease and protect your best interests while ensuring that you get the compensation to which you are entitled.

1-800-Injured is a lawyer and medical referral service that connects car accident victims to proven legal representation. Before letting your followers know about your crash, we encourage you to contact us right away so we can set you up with a free consultation.