How Social Media Can Impact Your Personal Injury Claim
A personal injury can change your life forever. Firstly, of course, there is the pain. If you are injured in an accident of any kind, you could experience physical side effects for weeks, months or even years to come if your injury turns into chronic pain. Then there’s the impact a personal injury can have on your life and that of your loved ones. It’s very possible, if you are injured for example in a car accident or have an accident at work, you won’t be able to go about your normal daily activities for some time or look after your family. As a result, your mental health and relationships can really suffer. Last but by no means least is the financial burden. Personal injuries are expensive - you may have to pay for ongoing medical treatments, have to take time off work and even pay others to do your normal tasks for you (e.g. babysitting, cleaning, gardening etc.)
You simply never know when personal injury could strike.
If you are unfortunately the victim of personal injury, at no fault of your own, you are entitled to compensation.
Compensation will allow you to recover well and deal with the other aforementioned impacts that do tend to come along with a personal injury - whether they are financial, practical or emotional.
This is your right under the law - and a basic human right.
That is why, if you are involved in an accident and think you are entitled to personal injury compensation, you must absolutely not do anything to jeopardise your rights.
What are we talking about here?
Namely, in this day and age - social media.
How Social Media Can Destroy Your Personal Injury Case
Most of us use social media daily - whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, Twitter or all of the above and more. It’s natural for many to post all sorts of details about one’s daily life - from what we ate for breakfast to the evening’s agenda with friends - online, complete with written and photographic evidence about exactly how you felt in that moment. Ordinarily, that’s totally fine. Social media allows you to share great moment of your life with your friends, family and maybe even followers. If the law becomes involved though, social media can be a real danger, especially as far as personal injury is concerned. Let’s consider an example scenario…
On Monday morning, you’re involved in a minor car accident, after another car collides with yours. You feel OK afterwards and decide to go about your normal day, including a planned dinner out with friends that evening. You or your friends post some photographs of you on Instagram enjoying a cocktail before dinner. It looks like you’re having the time of your life out on the town. In reality, your neck is starting to feel a little sore, maybe due to your accident. You stop after one drink, eat a quick dinner, and head home. The next day you wake up in significantly more pain. A doctor informs you that you’ve experienced a small neck injury, most likely due to your car accident. The pain continues for many weeks and you must take time off work. As a result, your income is affected and you would like to claim some compensation to help you out during this difficult time. There is one thing that could be used against you though - those pictures all over Instagram from that previous Monday evening. How could someone with a neck injury be out and about enjoying a night drinking margaritas with friends, the very night of their accident?
Do you see our point?
We get that, nowadays, on social media, most individuals prefer to present a perfect version of their lives. It’s very possible that you could appear to be a very active, healthy and happy person on Facebook when in reality, you’re suffering. Unfortunately though, the insurance companies dead-set against paying you a dime, don’t usually see things that way - and will use your social media accounts against you, if they can find a way to do so. One picture or even a written status (“what a great night out!”) is all it takes.
How To Protect You and Your Personal Injury Claim
- First and foremost, don’t tell lies.
It is extremely important to be completely truthful about your injuries, the circumstances of your accident and anything else related to your personal injury case. If you tell even a small lie, you could destroy your entire case, even if you really did have an injury that ordinarily would have resulted in an award of compensation. A lie is a lie - no matter how big or small. If the law is involved, you must be truthful. Never exaggerate your injuries, as you will likely be caught out, and may even end up paying legal fees. Read our article - https://gw.legal/articles/case-study-how-a-small-lie-can-destroy-your-entire-personal-injury-case
- If you are involved in an accident, think very carefully before you post anything on social media.
It may be best to take a social break in general. It is habit for many of us to present ‘a perfect’ version of our lives on our social media accounts, even if we have other things going on too. This could harm your case, so it could be better to remove the temptation altogether.
- Consider turning your accounts to private.
However, be warned, insurance companies have their ways and privacy settings can be tricky to navigate, so still be careful what you post online.
- If you do write anything, be extremely careful with your language.
Phrases such as ‘I crashed my car’ or ‘I’m doing OK’ (sweeping statements we tend to use, that may not actually reflect the truth of what happened) can significantly damage your case and reduce the compensation you could well be entitled to.
- Remember: nothing is ever really deleted on social media.
Your posts may still be visible, even if you delete then on second thought. If you have posted something you regret, it’s best not to delete it. You can deactivate your account though and hope that no screenshots have already been taken.
- Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know, while your claim is ongoing.
You never really know who is behind a social media profile.
- Be careful with text, Messenger and Whatsapp messages.
It’s unlikely, but there are legal ways others can gain access to your private messages. Again, as mentioned above, ‘sweeping statements’ that downplay a situation for the sake of others’ feelings such as ‘don’t worry mum, I’m doing fine’ can harm your case.
What To Do Next
If you’ve been involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault and feel that you could be entitled to compensation as a result, you should contact an experienced personal injury solicitor. A solicitor, unlike an insurance company, will fight for your rights and help you secure the compensation you deserve during this difficult time.
Who are GWlegal?
If you have a legal matter you wish to discuss don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can call us on 0345 373 3737 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org with your question.
Who are GWlegal? We’re a national firm with local values.