Social Media After A Car Wreck
Written by Greg on March 15, 2016
Car wrecks can be extremely traumatic and filled with frustration dealing with the insurance company, particularly, if it is not your own insurance company. The more serious the injury, the more likely that the adjuster will be friendly but don’t be fooled because the intention is always to pay as little as possible to settle a claim.
The general rule is the more serious the accident the more likely one is to need representation. Insurance companies have tactics that they use to defend their policies and to pay pennies on the dollar if they are able. One of the tactics includes sending investigators out to videotape the plaintiff after the wreck.
Another tactic is to monitor the social media of the injured person and an attempt to get evidence that may be usable to make the injured person look like they were faking or it wasn’t that bad. This tactic is especially dangerous because it does not require the insurance company to spend substantial out-of-pocket money upfront as they would with an investigator videotaping. There have also been instances where insurance companies were accused of “fake friending” in order to obtain information about a injured person.
It is pretty standard now for defendants in car accident cases to ask for social media profiles and posting in discovery. Recent case law is made clear that requests for social media profiles such as Facebook are subject to the general rules applicable to discovery. That is the request for such information must be reasonable in time and scope and also must be relevant to the subject matter of the lawsuit.
Whether or not a defendant can obtain access to Facebook or other social media posts depends upon the specific request and its applicability to the lawsuit in question. If you have been seriously injured in a car accident, there is a very distinct possibility that your Facebook posts after that date could become evidence in a lawsuit once filed.
It is quite easy to see how Facebook posts or other social media postings could be taken out of context. Not many people would be interested in your social media if all you did is whine and cry about your injuries. If you are like most people and try to move forward with your life even though you’re injured your Facebook post may give the wrong impression about your physical or mental condition.
Aside from being very careful about what you post on Facebook, consider changing your privacy options to limit those who can see your posting to immediate friends. While this will not stop a defendant from asking for your Facebook information in discovery, it should prevent them from obtaining it without going through the discovery process.
The general rule is if you put it out online you may see it again in court if you’re a personal injury victim seeking compensation for your injuries.
The best approach is to recognize that what you post may well be evidence in a case and be very cautious in your social media postings.