Social media can ruin more than just personal relationships. It can harm the strength of your legal case if you’re not careful. More than one car accident victim has experienced potential rewards being reduced or cases thrown out due to evidence or statements found on social media. With billions using social platforms daily, any content you post is out there for everyone to see (even if using privacy settings). Learn how social media can impact your car accident lawsuit.
Types of Digital Content that Can Harm Your Case
Digital content has become a modern focus of discovery for attorneys regardless of legal specialty. In car accident cases, social content across platforms can be used to develop a picture of one’s character, common activities, and even injury severity. These insights help attorneys build a sort of history map and monitor new developments that may be important to a pending case.
Social media encompasses everything from written posts and images to video and location check-ins. Consider the following content types and social tools that help disseminate posts, images, and video faster than you will be able to hit delete:
- Text posts with images
- RSS feeds
- Shortened links
- Posts you’re tagged in
- Profile pictures
- Linked accounts (such as Facebook and Instagram)
- Automated cross-posting of social content
- Live video streams
Much of this data is archived in some fashion and easily accessed online. Attorneys working for the defendant will only need to prove content authenticity to have social content admitted as evidence in a case. Even when not crucial to your case, social media evidence can negatively impact the outcome of your suit. This may include prolonging the judgment or receiving a reduced award.
How Social Media Content Impacts Your Lawsuit
If admitted into evidence, social media content can be used to persuade a jury or judge in favor of the defendant. It can be used by the opposing side to discredit you or your injuries, making a car accident lawsuit very difficult to win.
Facts Related to the Incident
People post on social media as things happen in their lives. Think about the last time you were on social media. Did you take a selfie with friends before going to a movie theater? Were you holding a drink in that photo? How soon before or after your accident did this occur (based on the post’s date and time stamps)? Social media content can be used to establish a link between events leading up to or immediately after an accident. This can be to your benefit if the social content supports your testimony, but it can also be highly damaging to your case.
Character and Credibility
Looking farther back in your social media history, attorneys for the defense may be able to use your feed to degrade your character or deplete your credibility in the eyes of a jury. As determined by geotagging, your whereabouts when certain important events occurred may provide the defense with more than enough material to attempt to get your case dismissed. A general example of this might be the use of a live video recording taken while you were driving recklessly months ago. If involved in a car accident lawsuit, this could help the defense establish a pattern of unlawful driving behavior.
Level of Injury or Disability
When a car accident involves injury and you’re suing the at-fault party for damages, the burden of proof is on you and your legal team. Let’s say your knee was hurt as a result of the accident and now you can’t work. It seems simple enough, and you should be able to easily win your case, right? Wrong. If on social media you documented previously injuring the same knee in an unrelated event, it will be exponentially more difficult to prove your injury was due to the car accident. On the flip side, a video of you out dancing with your friends months after the accident will also harm your ability to prove permanent, accident-related disability.
Get Help with Your Car Accident Lawsuit
Even if you already have information on social media that can’t be removed, working with a reputable car accident attorney improves your chances of winning your case. With over six decades of combined personal injury law expertise, the Peach and Weathers team understands what it takes to win a car accident case in California. If you have questions about your legal options following a car accident, contact Peach and Weathers before uploading your next social post.