How Social Media Can Affect Your Personal Injury Claim: Dos and Don’ts

Do you remember the story about the postal worker who got caught energetically spinning the big wheel on Wheel of Fortune while receiving disability benefits because she claimed she couldn’t lift her arms? Or the other postal worker receiving disability benefits because she couldn’t walk, then posting photos of herself on her travel agency website strolling around Disney World?

One example was television and the other was the internet, and both represented fraud: but they still provide a cautionary tale about letting yourself be seen in public – or on social media – when you’re in the middle of a personal injury claim. You can be absolutely certain that if you are claiming to be physically or emotionally injured, unable to enjoy life or to work, the opposing counsel will be stalking your social media accounts hoping and praying that you or your friends will post photos that contradict your claim, or suggest that your injury isn’t as bad as you’re making it out to be.

You may think that your privacy settings will protect you, but they absolutely won’t. Your information is legally accessed and used against you, both by attorneys and by representatives of

Any insurance companies that your attorneys are negotiating a settlement with. Both will be searching to see if there is anything on your accounts that they can use to minimize or eliminate their payouts.

This means that you need to think twice before posting any type of content about activities, or even about how you’re feeling, that will contradict or conflict with the testimony that you’ve already provided or plan to give in court. Whatever you post can be used against you in court to challenge your credibility.

Your best bet is to avoid posting photos or updates at all from the time of your accident forward, and you should also minimize any online discussions about what happened to you. Again, your comments – even if you’re just answering somebody else’s questions on Reddit or someone else’s Facebook page, or think that they’re going to disappear on Snapchat and nobody will see them – can be used against you, or taken out of context to undermine your case.

While the most obvious posts to stay away from are the ones that indicate your engagement in physical or social activities, you should also be aware that if you’re talking about how you feel – especially if you’re expressing happiness or enthusiasm over an upcoming event – can be used to contradict any statements you’ve made regarding emotional distress.

Finally, avoid talking about what is going on in your case. Legal matters should be kept out of the public eye, especially when they are still being decided. Any comments about the compensation you’re expecting to receive, about the judge overseeing the matter, any court personnel, or even opposing counsel, the jury, or the defendant can end up hurting you in court.

When in doubt, avoid social media entirely until your case is fully resolved.