After a stressful experience, venting on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter is a natural response in our modern culture. However, after suffering injuries or property damage in a car accident, it is best to be cautious and avoid posting on social media. Several factors should be kept in mind regarding social media and your car accident. For more information on your legal rights after a car accident, consider contacting the experienced car accident attorneys at Stabinski Law today at (305) 643-3100.
Should You Avoid Social Media After a Car Accident?
People who have recently been involved in car accidents should consider avoiding social media altogether following the accident. Social media posts could potentially cause complications in the insurance claims process or a car accident lawsuit. These complications can be caused by all types of social media posts, so it is not enough to simply avoid posting about the car accident specifically - all types of social media posts on sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and others should be avoided following a car accident.
Representatives of insurance companies monitor social media sites and posts can be used to reduce or outright deny coverage for injuries named in the insurance claim. For example, if someone suffers a serious back injury in a car accident, and then they attend a friend’s birthday party the following weekend, they may be tagged in photos on Facebook. The insurance company could use these photos to argue that the injuries are not as severe as claimed and attempt to deny coverage based on that evidence. Even if the claim is legitimate, the insurance company could still argue that an innocuous activity like briefly standing for a photo instead of sitting shows that the injuries are exaggerated.
How Social Media Posts Can Be Used to Limit or Deny Financial Compensation
There are several other ways social media posts can be used against a car accident victim during insurance claims or civil lawsuits. Some common examples include:
- A Twitter or Facebook post about the car accident could be construed as admitting fault, such as admitting you were sleep-deprived that day.
- Frequent social media posts could be used to argue against a claim of emotional distress, especially if they are upbeat in nature.
- Posts that are critical of the insurance company could be seen as a sign of bad faith and the insurance company could use these to argue that you are not negotiating in good faith.
- Photos posted by friends that tag the car accident victim can be accessed and used as evidence. Therefore, it is important to consider changing your social media privacy settings so that you can only be tagged if you grant permission.
The safest way to handle social media and your car accident is to completely avoid posting until any insurance claims or lawsuits have been closed. You can learn more about what you should do after a car accident by discussing your case with the experienced Florida car accident lawyers at Stabinski Law.
Can Private Social Media Posts Be Accessed?
It would be wise to make all social media sites private after a car accident. If they are public, insurance company representatives and lawyers can access them with minimal effort. However, setting all social media profile settings to private is not enough to negate the potential damage caused by posting on social media after a car accident.
In accidents where the damages are not fully covered by the insurance company, car accident victims may decide to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver and that driver’s insurer for negligence. Many of these cases are settled without going to court, and in those cases, access to private posts may not be granted. But in cases that are brought to court, attorneys for the opposing party can be granted access to the injured party’s social media sites and use social media posts to argue against an injury claim.
Deleted Posts Can Be Accessed in a Personal Injury Case
Deleted posts can also be accessed in cases where a judge grants attorneys access to the social media sites of someone injured in a car accident. An impulsive rant posted shortly following the car accident and deleted a few seconds later before anyone saw it can still be accessed by trained authorities if they receive the proper legal authorization.
Florida Personal Injury Lawsuits Affected by Social Media
In Florida car accident lawsuits and other types of personal injury lawsuits, attorneys for the defense often cite a case called Nucci v. Target Corp. as precedence for requesting access to social media sites. In this case, Maria Nucci filed a personal injury lawsuit against the Target department store after she slipped and fell in one of their stores. A lawyer for Target viewed her Facebook profile before deposition and found 1,285 photographs. The lawyer viewed her profile again 2 days after deposition and found that 36 photographs had been deleted.
Target’s lawyers filed a motion for access to all of Nucci’s social media profiles. They argued that surveillance video showing Nucci carrying jugs of water and heavy bags, along with engaging in other physical acts, was evidence that cast doubt on her claim. They cited Davenport v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.to argue that social media posts are not privileged or protected by the right of privacy. The court ruled in Target’s favor, granting access to posts from the two years prior to the slip and fall incident.
Consider Seeking Legal Guidance After a Car Accident
If you have questions regarding social media and your car accident, or anything else related to injuries or property damage suffered in an auto accident, consider seeking legal guidance. Securing adequate financial compensation for all damages suffered can be complicated, especially when dealing with insurance companies that look to deny claims and limit their payouts. This process becomes even more complicated if a lawsuit occurs.
The experienced car accident lawyers at Stabinski Law are prepared to help car accident victims understand their legal rights. If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a car accident, call us today at 305) 643-3100 to learn more about your options for financial compensation.