If you’re active on social media, you’ve probably posted something that you later wished you hadn’t. As this article in TIME magazine illustrates, mistakes on social media can cost you relationships, your reputation, sometimes even your job. Did you ever think that a careless post could cost you your car accident claim?
If you are planning to file a legal claim for personal injury or damages resulting from a car accident, what you say on social media may be admissible in court. Here are some things you should be careful about on social media while your case is pending:
Details about the accident. Social media posts are usually brief comments about an event you’ve experienced – such as a car accident. Often posts are spontaneous and emotional, rather than planned and thoughtfully composed. When you talk about your car accident online it is easy to leave out important details or even get them wrong. It’s easy to exaggerate or embellish the story, even if unintentionally. However, the other driver can use your posts against you, demonstrating that you do not remember clearly what happened or that your story has changed over time.
Statements that imply responsibility. Even a simple statement such as “I really wish this car wreck never happened” can be twisted around by the other driver when you go to court. The other driver’s best defense is to lay the blame on you. It’s very easy in this ambiguous setting for your words to be taken out of context and even used against you.
Emotional statements. Sometimes a statement like “I didn’t want any money from the other driver, I just wanted an apology” can come back to bite you. A car wreck attorney is not going to be able to help you get an apology in any case. An experienced attorney should be able to help you win a settlement, but not if you make public statements like this. These statements give the other driver grounds to question whether or not you were really hurt or why you are asking for damages.
Attempts to harass, embarrass, or intimidate the other driver. This behavior can actually get you arrested. When your case goes to jury, this type of behavior not only looks bad for you, but could also win sympathy for the other driver.
Inflammatory statements. While freedom of speech is a priority on the internet, you should always use good judgment. The other driver’s insurance company or defense attorney will review your social media accounts. Any references to drug use, hostile or hateful speech, or topics that would make the average juror uncomfortable should be avoided. When you go to court, you are asking the jury to help you. You should avoid giving the jury any excuse not to help you because of something that you have said online.
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