How Social Media Can Affect You in Court

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In just a few short decades, our society has become more and more dependent on technology. It, along with the developed social sphere created through social media websites, has connected our society in ways that no one could have ever imagined.

Many have developed a strong presence through social media. Saying things like, “Message me” and “I’ll tag you” have become a part of our everyday vocabulary. Every time we log in, we post a permanent record of our lives by “sharing” or posting our thoughts, comments, photos and other personal details on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for the whole world to see. Even when you think you have deleted something, there is a strong possibility that images of your uploads have been stored by one of countless web archiving services. Your phone is also capable of storing information from sites you have visited.

Let’s face it; communication through social media has become the new norm for how we document our lives. In fact, over 89% of people under the age of 30 are active social media users and 65% of all adults are connected through social media websites. It is because of trends and statistics like these that social media now also plays a role in many types of legal proceedings.

Our social personas have become an easily clickable snapshot of our daily lives. So, when you are involved in an accident and file a claim or personal injury suit, know that the first thing an insurance company is going to do is search your name on the internet for personal information that they can use against you and your case. The greatest threat to clients is often their social media presence.

Attorneys are also able to use information from social media websites as evidence to argue whether or not a plaintiff is injured or as incapacitated as they might claim. Anything you post online has the potential to be used as evidence against you. Information found through social media websites is quickly becoming one of the largest sources of evidence being presented in trial, and depending on what side of the evidence you find yourself, it can either work for or against you.

Social media is here to stay, so it is important that you know and understand how to best conduct yourself online, as well as how you can protect your privacy as a user. Here are a few simple tips and rules of thumb to follow:

1) Don’t post any details about your accident on any social media website. This includes details about your injuries and recovery, as well as photos or video. Once you’ve filed your claim and are headed toward legal proceedings, remember that everyone uses social media. Always assume that your activities are being monitored and that everyone, including those who will be gathering evidence against you, is looking at your online activity.

2) Google yourself. Assume that the insurance company is going to search you, so make sure that whatever they may find won’t hurt your claim.

3) Remove any past posts that could be used to limit or deny your claim. For example, if you posted a pre-accident comment about having back pain, this can be used against you as evidence that your accident was not the sole cause of your injury.

4) Increase your privacy settings. Though strict privacy settings won’t completely shield you from onlookers, they can help limit any past, present or future information from being publically seen that could hurt your claim. Strict privacy settings can make your profile invisible to non-friends, making it harder for an outsider to gather evidence against you.

5) Don’t allow your friends to post about you or your accident. Again, assume that their information, posts or comments are also going to be monitored by the insurance company. Make sure that you have strict privacy settings for what others are allowed to post or comment on your page. Also, be aware of the comments, photos, chat logs or even screen shots that could be circulating on your friends’ pages.

When it comes down to it, just use common sense! You can avoid so many problems by just taking a calm and conservative approach to how you post and present yourself through social media.

If you are thinking of filing a personal injury claim, contact the skilled and proven team at Coxwell & Associates at (601) 948-1600 to discuss the details of your case. We’ll schedule a no-pressure initial consultation for you and help you determine the best course of action.

Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.

Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.

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