After an incident, whether it be a car crash, work-place injury, or product failure, the injured person may be tempted to tell the world, via social media, what has happened to them. They may want to share details about the incident, information about their health, or expound on the nature of their injury. Social media is a part of life for almost everyone, and it is natural to want to tell your story.
However, posting on social media has the potential of implicating some serious legal issues. At Wilson Kehoe Winingham, we discourage post-incident social media sharing. The reasons why are more concerning than you may think.
Twisting Your Words
The biggest potential legal issue of posting on social media is having things you say used against you by opposing legal counsel after you file a lawsuit. Defense counsel will many times request information about the injured person’s social media accounts, and will monitor posts. There is also the potential for opposing counsel to go back and dig up prior posts the injured person made about the incident or the severity of their injuries.
When stressed after your accident, you might post something you regret, particularly something that gives the impression you were to blame for the accident. Even if you have no responsibility for what happened, an opposing lawyer could take your social media post and attempt to use it as an admission that you were at fault. Additionally, you may want to reassure family that you are okay after an incident, when in fact you are hurt. Posts like, “I’m fine”, or “I wasn’t hurt,” may come back to harm your case if in fact a doctor later finds an injury that was caused by the incident. There is also the temptation to vent anger against the person who caused your injury. While it may feel good at the time, angry posts never look good in the eyes of a jury.
The safe approach is too not post on social media about your incident or injuries.. With the free-form nature of social media, it’s just too easy for your statements to be taken out of context and used against you.
Isn’t My Social Media Private?
In a word, no. Molly DiBianca, a Delaware attorney, writes:
“…The very purpose of social media – to share content with others – precludes the finding of an objectively reasonable expectation that content will remain ‘private.'”
In other words, regardless of the privacy settings of your page, the fact that it’s posted to any social media site means the information is no longer private and can be used against you.
In summary, think before you post, especially after an accident.
Wilson Kehoe Winingham brings you this information with best regards for you and your family’s safety.