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The Impact of Social Media on Personal Injury Claims

Social media plays a major role in our lives. Many of us use social media on a daily basis, whether its Instagram, Facebook, Twitter (X), TikTok, or other platforms. It’s become second nature to update our social media accounts to share pictures, videos, and information with friends and family.

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you should stop to think about your social media use. Your social media posts can negatively impact your personal injury claim and the compensation you receive.

Your social media posts can be used against you

Here is how social media can damage your personal injury claim. After being hurt in a motor vehicle accident, you sue the at-fault driver. Their lawyer and their insurance company will thoroughly investigate your claim and the injuries you say the accident caused. They will review your medical records and conduct surveillance on you—including scouring your social media posts for photos, videos, and information to discredit your claim and to cast doubt on the severity of your injuries.

For example, imagine the motor vehicle accident caused you to suffer a concussion and serious whiplash. The injuries prevent you from working and enjoying your usual activities. You begin to experience depression. The defendant digs around in your social media accounts and finds posts showing you laughing, socializing, working out at the gym, or engaging in your usual hobbies or activities after the accident. They then use those posts against you as evidence in your personal injury case. Your claim may be denied or your compensation drastically reduced by that evidence.

How to protect yourself on social media

There are ways to protect yourself from the potential negative impacts of social media. Here are tips for navigating social media after being hurt in a motor vehicle accident:

1.      Reach out to an experienced personal injury law firm. Personal injury lawyers know how to protect your case and can advise you on how to avoid mistakes and navigate social media while your case is active.

2.      Limit or altogether avoid making new posts. Less is better when your personal injury claim is ongoing. Either stop posting while your claim is active, or limit what you post. Don’t post anything about the motor vehicle accident or your personal injury claim. Be extremely cautious about anything you or your friends and family post. Even seemingly innocent photos or comments can be very harmful to your case—especially when taken out of context.

3.      Don’t delete or scrub your social media accounts. You may be tempted to close your accounts or delete posts. Don’t give in to that temptation. You may be accused of tampering with evidence if you delete your accounts or purge information to “clean up” your social media presence. That can seriously affect your personal injury claim.

4.      Adjust your privacy settings. Make your social media accounts private so that only people you know can see what you post. However, you must be aware that Ontario courts can and will order disclosure of private social media profiles (so refer back to tip 1 above!).

5.      Keep your eye on tags. Untag yourself in posts made by anyone you don’t know. Consider untagging yourself from pictures or posts made by people you do know while your personal injury claim is ongoing. As mentioned above, what you see as harmless posts can seriously hurt your case.

6.      Watch your check-ins. Tracking and location check-ins can hurt your case. For example, if you check in at the gym or are location-tagged on a hike, that can be used as evidence against your claim that you have physical restrictions and limitations as a result of the motor vehicle accident injuries.

7.      Be wary of new friend requests. Scrutinize them carefully and don’t accept requests from anyone your don’t know while your lawsuit is pending. It may be a private investigator hired by the insurance company, attempting to get access to your social media content.

We Can Help: Connect with a Personal Injury Lawyer In Sault Ste. Marie

If you've been hurt in a motor vehicle accident, it's important to consult with a personal injury lawyer without delay. The legal professionals at Feifel Gualazzi Personal Injury Law Firm can help you navigate all aspects of your motor vehicle accident claim, ensuring that you receive the compensation you deserve for your physical, emotional and financial losses. Contact us today for more information about our legal services or to speak with a Sault Ste. Marie personal injury lawyer at our law firm.


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