As social media has taken over our society in many different ways, the law has changed to acknowledge this fact. What many people don’t realize however is that what you say on social media can affect your case in certain circumstances. For the most part, let’s just say that it’s best to keep these matters quiet and off the net. Here are the specifics.

The use of social media is becoming more and more common. In fact, as
of January 2014, 74 percent of adults who used the internet also used
social media sites, a Pew Research Center report
found. (Since that time, it is estimated that that number has grown.)
As social media provides a forum for individuals to share their
thoughts, feelings, experiences, and photos, it makes sense that some
people who have been injured in an accident turn to social media to
share details. However, social media effects on a personal injury claim
can be negative, and using social media while in the midst of the claims
process is not advised.

The following considers what you need to know about how social media affects your personal injury claim:

Social Media Posts Can Be Detrimental to Your Claim of Physical Injury

People who are pursuing a personal injury claim are usually doing so
because, in part, they have suffered physical injuries, such as a broken
leg, chronic pain, concussion, traumatic brain injury, soft tissue
injury, etc. As such, they are seeking damages for two things: first,
expenses associated with the injury such as the costs of staying in a
hospital, and second, noneconomic damages for pain and suffering that
resulted as a direct consequence of the physical injury.

In order to
substantiate these damages, a claimant will usually call upon medical
experts, as well as any other specialists or witnesses, including family
and friends, who can testify to the claimant’s pain.

The job of the defense, or the person/party against whom the claim is
being filed, is to do the opposite – try to drag up evidence that
suggests that damages are not nearly as severe as the claimant purports.
One of the best sources of evidence is social media profiles.

Consider a
claimant who is seeking damages for chronic pain, some loss of mobility,
and an inability to enjoy physical activities that he or she once
loved, such as hiking. The defense scours through the claimant’s social
media pages and stumbles upon photographic evidence that suggests the
contrary – photos of the claimant enjoying a beautiful hike in the
mountains, while smiling, and with friends. As a result, the judge rules
that the claimant is not entitled to compensation for these damages as
the photos show clear and convincing evidence of not only the claimant’s
physical capabilities, but of his or her enjoyment of life as well.
(Note: This example is based on the true story of Fotini Kourtesis, who
claimed that a rear-end collision left her unable to dance or wrestle
with her brother. Facebook pictures showed her being lifted into the air
with her brother and dancing after the accident, and the judge ruled
against her.

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