Social media is ingrained in modern lifestyles and has its advantages and disadvantages. It can connect people, help organize events, find someone a new job, and allow people to attend virtual events such as work meetings and concerts. On the downside, it can be addicting, attract predators, and destroy reputations. Speaking to that last disadvantage, it can adversely affect a car accident claim if you are not careful enough.
How the Popularity of Social Media Has Grown?
It is estimated that more than two-thirds of American adults use Facebook, with about three-fourths of them going on it each day. The platform has close to three billion users a month as of 2022, and many of these users access it on their phones. This can be compared to an average of one million per month in 2004, 100 million in 2008, approximately 800 million in 2012, and 1.01 billion in 2012. Instagram is at about 1.44+ billion monthly active users for 2022, and just like other social media platforms, postings are considered part of the public record.
People post so often that they often do not think twice about what they share; this is a habit that shows no signs of going away anytime soon. Platform privacy settings are designed to shield information from certain parties, but the choices are not always set properly. Even if these settings are on Private, insurance companies and attorneys have been known to seek out court orders to obtain social media information once lawsuits are filed. Therefore, if you want to protect your interests, understand that your postings are never really 100 percent private.
How People Set Social Media Traps for Themselves after Accidents?
A recovery after a motor vehicle accident can be lengthy and dull, leaving survivors with ample time to spend on social media platforms. More postings can mean added opportunities for individuals to mindlessly scroll through and post on their accounts. Something as seemingly innocuous as commenting on a friend’s photo could damage your case, and detailed postings and photos about the collision could be even worse.
Since the postings are public knowledge, they can also impact confidentiality protections that you have when working with a car accident lawyer. Insurance companies closely analyze online activity and might use your posts to prove that your personal injury was not that serious or that it does not even exist.
How Could My Posts Damage My Case?
One way that a social media post could damage your claim is when it contradicts your accident and recovery timeline. Social media timestamps each post; therefore, if you put up a photo of yourself at an out-of-town location on the same date that you claimed you were having accident-related surgery, you could be called on that. Another example might be a post of you dancing at a party when you were supposed to be recovering from a broken leg.
Insurance providers might also argue that you are exaggerating or faking injuries if you were seen having a great time bicycling when you are waiting for compensation for a back injury. People who make auto accident claims get scrutinized from every angle, and social media posts are carefully researched. It is important to remember that your claim will depend on the ability to prove that there was a traumatic loss, so why would you be out enjoying yourself or not have been at rehab when you said you were?
Posting about the accident is strongly discouraged, and you can rest assured that any photos and statements you share will be scrutinized before the investigation is finished. Even if your postings are factual, they can easily be taken out of context and used against you.
Should I Stop Posting on Social Media after a Car Accident?
Because posts can be used as evidence, avoiding them is the safest course of action. Even if you do something innocent such as liking all your friends’ posts in one afternoon, the insurance company or other party’s lawyer might think that you are feeling much better than you have claimed. It is also wise to ask your family and friends not to post any comments about you or photos with you in them until the case is settled. Also, remind them not to mention the accident at all, at any time whatsoever. Tell them not to tag you either; you might even want to unfriend them temporarily or make your accounts inactive for a while. Go through your friend lists and reach out to everyone, to protect yourself and the claim.
Each state has certain laws that pertain to the ways that social media posts can be used in motor vehicle accident claims. The federal Stored Communication Act permits social media posts to be used in the discover phases of car accident suits as well. Those are the facts, but is it hard to stop posting and to ask your friends and family to help? For most people, the answer is yes, but it is necessary if you want the best chances for a successful outcome to your claim.
Is Washington DC a No-Fault Auto Insurance State?
To drive legally in Washington DC, you must have $25,000/$50,000 bodily injury per person/total liability bodily injury coverage for each accident, $10,000 property damage liability per accident, and $25,000/$50,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage. When DC residents get policies, they also must be offered the option of getting personal injury protection or no-fault coverage.
With this car insurance system, drivers can buy no-fault or liability, or fault-based, coverage. If you choose no-fault, you get 60 days to decide if you want to take those benefits; the other option is to file a claim against the other driver and stop posting on social media. These claims can get a bit complicated as well, since there are compensation limits in certain cases.
Washington DC Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Advise Clients about Car Accident Claims
Once you post on social media, your words and images become part of the public record and could be used as evidence against your automotive collision claim. For seasoned advice about your accident, reach out to the Washington DC car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King. We will be your advocate to protect your rights to compensation. Call us today at 202-331-1963 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Washington DC, Alexandria, Virginia, and National Harbor, Maryland, we work with clients in Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.