Social Media speech bubble on white background.

It’s been a long trial and things look good. The jury seems to be siding with the plaintiff in a personal injury case. It was proven the injuries sustained by the plaintiff were a direct result of the traffic accident.

But then the defense provides a Snapchat photo of the plaintiff. Cases can be seriously damaged by careless use of social media.

Information

Social media is a good way for people to share things with their friends and loved ones. It’s also a way for total strangers to gather information on people.

It’s possible for this information to be collected and used to take advantage of someone. Once a person is in an accident, their attorney will be rightfully worried about what their client shares on social media.

It’s of the utmost importance that a plaintiff understands how the improper use of social media can cause serious harm to their case.

Location

Since the development of the Global Positioning System (GPS) enabled cellular devices as well as location networks, it is now a simple thing to share a person’s location. Using this has become quite popular.

A plaintiff needs to understand it’s essential to stay away from such networks until their case is decided. It’s possible an unknown party could be carefully watching them.

Snapchat in particular, can be extremely harmful to the case. In theory, Snapchat is only supposed to last a few seconds. But there are applications available that enable an individual to secretly save a Snapchat photo without a person’s permission.

Privacy Settings

If a plaintiff believes privacy settings will protect their information, they need to realize this is not quite true. Insurance companies are very knowledgeable at getting around privacy settings. Car insurance companies are hiring individuals to send friend requests to plaintiffs involved in litigation with them.

The goal is to gain access to a plaintiff’s profile. They will look for any bit of information that will help them decrease their payout.

Court Orders

Even if a plaintiff has privacy settings on their social media account and does not accept any new friend requests, an auto insurance company may still gain access to information stored there. Insurance companies are now seeking court orders to obtain a plaintiff’s social media information once a lawsuit has been filed, and some courts around the country are granting such requests.

Nothing a plaintiff puts on a social media site is truly private. A plaintiff has to realize an auto insurance company will do whatever it takes to not pay fair compensation for an auto accident injury claim.

Don’t Delete

Should a plaintiff have posted something on a social media account that may harm their case, they should not delete it. It’s even worse if they try and shut down any of their existing social media accounts. The reason for this is many courts view it as a deliberate attempt to destroy evidence. If this can be established by a car insurance company, it could cause serious harm to a case.

Photographs

It’s important a plaintiff is aware of the photographs they’ve posted on social media. If they have pictures of them legally drinking at a party that occurred years ago, it could still be used to harm their case. A car insurance company may use it to paint a picture of a client as someone who regularly drinks.

Images have a powerful effect on juries. A plaintiff needs to realize any pictures or information shared on social media has the potential to cause harm if their case goes to court.

In a personal injury case, the mere appearance of good health, even on something as seemingly harmless as a personal social profile, makes a personal injury case very, very difficult to make.

Disclaimer: This information is not a substitute for legal advice. Laws change from time to time, so if you are injured, protect your rights and call today at 1-800-598-2440 or contact the Womick Law Firm online.

For more information on how Social Media can damage a claim, please visit HG.org.