At the Law Offices of Scott Dinsmore, APC, our Manhattan Beach personal injury attorneys have one important piece of advice we share with clients who wish to file a successful Manhattan Beach personal injury claim: stay off social media.
If you have been injured in an accident that was somebody else’s fault, you are probably depending on the compensation from a personal injury claim to pay your medical bills and other expenses. The last thing someone in your situation wants to do is make a mistake that costs you your chance to collect the compensation you deserve for the damages you’ve suffered.
A majority of adults in the U.S. are active on some form of social media. It’s a great way to share your thoughts and keep in touch with family, co-workers and friends. However, you need to be careful about what information you post online. Revealing too much personal information through social media could come back to haunt you, especially if you are the plaintiff in a personal injury claim.
What You Post Online Can Be Used Against You
In recent years, courts have allowed social media posts to be used as evidence in lawsuits. This means that anything you post online could potentially be used against you.
We have seen instances where a plaintiff has undermined their own case through irresponsible social media postings. That’s why we urge our clients to refrain from engaging on social media while their case is being litigated. We know for a lot of our clients that seems very difficult, but the truth is any social media posting you make, no matter how innocent it may seem, has the potential to seriously damage your case.
The Insurance Companies Are Reading Your Social Media Posts
In order to prevail in a Manhattan Beach personal injury claim, you must prove that you have been injured and that the injuries you suffered were the result of someone else’s negligence. This evidence to support your claim usually includes medical records, expert and specialist testimony, witnesses of the event, and friends, family and co-workers who can testify to what you were like before the accident and how the incident affected your life.
The insurance companies aren’t on your side. They will be presenting any possible evidence they can find to deny your claim. They will employ just about any strategy possible to avoid taking responsibility in your personal injury claim. This includes searching through your social media accounts, trolling for any posts, pictures or comments that may undermine or cast doubt on the extent of your injuries.
How Can a Social Media Post Put My Manhattan Beach Personal Injury Claim in Jeopardy?
For instance, say you file a claim after being injured in a slip and fall accident for economic damages, such as being unable to work, as well as non-economic damages, such as mental anguish. The insurance company combs through your social media posts and finds evidence of involvement in activities that would not be possible due to the extent of your injuries. A single photo of you engaged in an outdoor activity, laughing, drinking and having a good time out with friends could be used by the defense to bring into question your claims of being unable to work or suffering from mental anguish. This might occur even if it’s photo that was taken prior to your injury but posted after the accident.
Even commenting on the proceedings after you’ve won your case could get you into trouble if you have signed a confidentiality clause as part of your settlement agreement.
Be Careful What You Post
As stated above, we recommend that our clients stay off social media while their case is being litigated. We realize this is asking a lot; for many people, social media platforms like Facebook are their primary means of keeping in touch with distant friends and family. However, if you must use social media, we urge that you:
- Limit your online social media presence as much as possible; avoid social media check-ins.
- Use maximum privacy settings – and be aware that they might not provide much protection.
- Don’t post or allow others to post pictures, text or videos of you that might be construed as inconsistent with your current personal injury claims.
- Alert your attorney immediately if an insurance company has requested access to your social media accounts.
- Don’t post information regarding your injury or treatment.
- Don’t write about conversations you’ve had with your attorney.
- Avoid new requests for followers or friends.
- Don’t discuss your frustrations or anger with the defendant or their insurance company.
- Refrain from posting about any emails, phone calls or conversations you have had with anyone involved in your case.
- Don’t attempt to engage the other side through social media.
- If in doubt, check with your attorney before posting anything on social media.
Frequently Asked Questions About California Personal Injury Claims
The statute of limitations for injury claims in California depends largely on the type of claim you are filing. In most cases, a personal injury claim must be filed within two years of the date when your injuries occurred or were discovered. However, there are some exceptions to this general rule.
If you have any questions about the statute of limitations for your particular case, we urge you to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to avoid missing the deadline and being barred from recovery altogether.
The types of compensation you could be awarded in a personal injury case will vary depending on the facts surrounding your injuries and the extent to which you’ve been affected by them. Your physical, mental and financial damages may include:
– Medical expenses
– Lost wages and benefits
– Property damage
– Pain and suffering
– Emotional distress
– Funeral costs (in wrongful death cases)
– Punitive damages (in some cases)
Depending on the severity of your injuries, you could also be awarded future medical ex