Michigan Lawyer Blog

How Social Media Can Impact Your Personal Injury Case


Personal Injury Results






In today's digital age, social media has become an integral part of our daily lives. We use various platforms to share moments, thoughts, and experiences with our friends and followers. When you’ve had a severe injury in an accident caused by another, you may be tempted to share details in your social media posts. It is likely you’ve never been so severely injured. You have a lot to share about this new experience. Perhaps you are angry at the person who you believe caused your injuries and want to publicly “shame” them on social media.

Our team at Goodman Acker has some simple, direct words of caution: refrain from sharing any information about your injury or accident on social media.

Many people may not realize that the content they post on social media can significantly impact their personal injury case. Social media use can have far-reaching consequences in legal cases, often presenting a double-edged sword. While it can provide evidence to strengthen your case, it can also be used against you as the plaintiff or against a witness. Because you may be involved in a legal proceeding, it’s crucial to exercise caution and think twice before posting on social media during the course of the case.

It is best to avoid making any posts, comments, likes, etc., until your case is concluded.

When it comes to personal injury cases, seemingly innocent social media content can be used against you by insurance companies and opposing counsel to challenge the legitimacy of your claims. Seeking guidance from legal counsel on appropriate social media behavior can help protect your interests and ensure the best possible outcome in a legal dispute.

Ways Social Media Use Can Harm Your Personal Injury Claim

Surveillance and Contradictory Evidence

Insurance companies and defense attorneys are increasingly turning to social media as a tool to gather evidence against plaintiffs. They may monitor your social media profiles, looking for any posts or photos that contradict the injuries you've claimed. For example, if you're pursuing compensation for a back injury, but your social media shows you participating in physically demanding activities, it can be used to question the extent of your injuries.

Credibility Challenges Can Rely on Social Media Posts

Inconsistent or contradictory social media content can raise doubts about your credibility as a plaintiff. If your claims of injury or emotional distress conflict with your online posts, it can lead to skepticism about the legitimacy of your case.

Social Media Check-Ins and Their Impact on Your Personal Injury Case

One aspect of social media that can significantly affect your personal injury case is check-ins on platforms like Facebook, Foursquare, and others. While it may seem innocent to share your location and activities with friends and followers, these check-ins can potentially be used as evidence against the injuries you are claiming.

For instance, if you're seeking compensation for limited mobility due to your injuries, checking in at a weekly yoga class could present a conflicting picture. Insurance companies and defense attorneys may use such check-ins as proof that your claimed injuries do not align with your actual activities.

Location posts on social media can be compelling evidence that may be used to challenge the legitimacy of your injury claims, so it's crucial to be mindful of what you share and consider how it may be perceived in the context of your case. To protect your interests and maintain the strength of your personal injury claim, it's wise to be cautious about publicizing activities that may contradict the severity of your injuries.

The Impact of Posts on Emotional Distress Claims

In personal injury cases that involve claims of emotional distress or psychological trauma, social media posts can be particularly damaging. Ranting about your case, expressing negative emotions, or even sharing unrelated posts that reflect your emotional state may be taken out of context and used against you in court to undermine your emotional distress claims.

Privacy Settings Are Not Foolproof

Some individuals may think that setting their social media profiles to private will protect their content from prying eyes. While you should check your privacy settings and update them to the most secure possible, doing so is not foolproof. Insurance companies may use various tactics, such as friend requests from fake accounts or subpoenas, to access your private content. It's essential to be cautious about who you accept as friends or followers, even on private accounts.

Preserving Evidence – Avoid Making Changes to Accounts

While you might be tempted to delete or modify your social media posts once you've filed a personal injury claim, doing so can have severe consequences. Courts may consider such actions as an attempt to destroy evidence, potentially harming your credibility and case. It's crucial to consult with your attorney before making any changes to your social media accounts during the litigation process. To help you understand what type of evidence may be used in your case, we provide a helpful discussion that lists various forms of evidence that may be used in an injury claim.

Influence on Personal Injury Settlement Offers

Insurance companies may use your social media activity to assess the potential value of your case and tailor settlement offers accordingly. If they believe your case may not be strong due to social media evidence, they may offer a lower settlement.

Tips for Navigating Social Media During Your Case

Our team at Goodman Acker has experience with ways social media use has affected our clients’ cases. Based upon that experience, we offer these tips:

  • Limit social media activity. Consider reducing your social media usage during the course of your personal injury case to minimize potential risks. Ideally, you should not post anything, nor make any comments on others’ posts, until your case is concluded.

  • If you insist on using social media, think before you post: ask yourself how your post or comment could be perceived in the context of your injury case. Consider how it might harm your claim.

  • Adjust privacy settings. While it's not a guaranteed safeguard, adjusting your privacy settings may limit access to your content.

  • Avoid discussing your case online. Refrain from discussing any details of your case on social media, even privately, as this could negatively impact your claim.

  • Don’t accept new friend requests, unless you are certain you know the person and they don’t work for an insurance company.

  • Educate friends and family. Request that friends and family avoid tagging you in posts or sharing content that could be detrimental to your case.

Social media has undoubtedly transformed the way we communicate and interact with the world, but its impact on personal injury cases may be a serious matter. To protect your legal rights and maximize your chances of a successful outcome, exercise caution and restraint when it comes to social media usage during your personal injury case. Our team at Goodman Acker has some additional guidance about social media “dos and don’ts” in a car accident case that may be of further help to you.

Remember that anything you post or share online can be used against you, so it's essential to be mindful of the potential consequences before hitting that "post" button.

When you work with Goodman Acker, our attorney will consult with you about your social media best practices. We will provide guidance to safeguard your claim and ensure that your online presence does not negatively affect your case. Learn how we can help you in your injury case. Call our team today at 248-286-8100.