For better or for worse, social media has revolutionized the way we communicate. However, posting to your social media accounts after a car accident or during a resulting lawsuit can harm your case. Your photos and status updates may cast doubt on the seriousness of your personal injury claims. So, therefore, it is better to refrain from posting until your case has concluded.
New York City car accident lawyers have seen firsthand the harm that can come from posting photos and status updates online. Your lawyer will advise you on how to protect yourself during litigation, and this will likely include not posting on social media.
If it is online, consider it public
Even if you opt for the most restrictive privacy settings, anything you post may ultimately make it into the hands of the other party’s lawyers. Your posts may be limited to friends only, but one of your friends may share it with someone else. The other party’s lawyer may even issue a subpoena for your posts in a search for evidence to undermine your claim.
This may seem invasive, but most conversations you have are not privileged. Unless you are speaking privately with your attorney, doctor, or someone else subject to confidentiality, the defense attorney may ask you about your conversations. It should not be surprising, then, that anything you post online may end up being shared in your car accident case.
Your posts may be used against you
The idealized life that people tend to portray on social media can torpedo claims for injuries, pain, and suffering. Even though a photograph only captures a second in time, it can convey a longer-lasting image. If your lawsuit includes a demand for damages related to pain and mental suffering, and there is a happy photograph of you on Facebook– it can give the impression that you are not truthful.
It is not just photos that can lead to trouble. Complaining online about the lawsuit or the defendant can lead to heat-of-the-moment statements that can be twisted against you. A video of you taking part in a hobby may be used as evidence that you are not too injured to work. A defense lawyer seeking to limit his client’s liability can get very creative with your innocent posts, so New York City personal injury lawyers may recommend not placing yourself in that situation.
Only talk to your lawyer about your case
A broader rule that can help you protect your case is only to discuss it with your personal injury attorney. Personnel who work for your lawyer’s office will be bound to the same confidentiality as your lawyer. Your lawyer may retain experts like doctors and economists to help prove your case. These experts are not bound to the same duty of confidentiality, so follow your lawyer’s instructions in communicating with them.
As difficult as it can be when you want to share details of your life with family and friends, do not discuss your case unless necessary. If the defense lawyer finds out that you discussed it with your neighbor or cousin, they may be called as witnesses and questioned under oath about what you told them. Their social media profiles may also be targeted by anyone looking to diminish the severity of your claim.
Talk to your lawyer about your social media presence
If you already have an active social media presence or need to use social sites for business, discuss this with your lawyer. They may want to determine whether anything you have posted could impact your case. Sometimes it may be wise to delete old posts, but if they are directly relevant to the case– removing them may be unethical.
Contact us for a free consultation
It pays to work with an experienced lawyer who is familiar with potential pitfalls. Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green is based in Manhattan and offers legal guidance to personal injury victims from across New York City. If you have questions about your social media presence or some other aspect of your car accident case, call to schedule a free consultation.