Why Your Personal Injury Lawyer Wishes You'd Stay Off Social Media

Posted on: 12 December 2015

If you've been involved in a particularly nasty auto accident, you may have injuries and medical bills for which you're trying to reach a settlement with an insurance company. To avoid all the stress and negotiations, you hired a personal injury attorney to manage the case for you and work on getting the best possible settlement.  

But the process can be a long one, and you may even have ongoing injuries that have kept you from working or from participating in many of the activities you used to do. It's possible that you spend more time than you used to watching television or surfing the web. And if you're among the 74 percent of adults who are online and have at least one social media account, you may post images and text messages about what you're doing.

Your attorney has one word for you: Don't.

Why not? Anything you post publicly can be viewed by the insurance company's lawyers and used against you in a lawsuit. And even if you're not doing anything fraudulent, the snapshots of life you put online may paint a picture of someone who is healthier than you really are.

On the other hand, you can probably continue to view the content others post to social media, and maybe even share some limited, non-personal information. Here are some tips for keeping your social media accounts while you're involved in an active injury case:

1. Lock everything down. 

Make sure your privacy settings only allow your friends -- and not friends of friends or everyone -- to view. This is not made particularly easy by the big social media companies; they want you to share as much as possible, as often as possible. So take the time to work through your accounts and toggle everything to the highest level of privacy. Have someone who has not friended or connected with you, like your attorney or someone in the law office, check your profiles to make sure that nothing you don't want available is public.

2. Don't post anything about your health, your case or your day-to-day activities.

This includes comments on friends' posts. Stick to sharing news stories, quotes, and other content that is not personal. Avoid putting up any photos that may show you or a setting that you're in. Instead of trying to decide which things are appropriate and which are not, simply stick to the "less is more" theory. Share photos and personal information with close friends and family members via email.

3. Communicate with your friends.

Make sure family members and friends also avoid putting images of you or information about you online. It's not very hard for a skilled investigator to find information about your friends, and if they have not made their accounts private, your information could be available.

If you have questions about what type of activity you can safely engage in online, talk to a personal injury attorney (such as one from Dennis M. Walters, PC). He or she can give you guidelines for keeping your personal information private -- at least until your case is complete.