After a car accident in Oregon, it is common to want to reach out to your friends and family. But be careful about making statements about the accident on social media. These are basically public statements that can be used by an attorney or insurance company to damage your claim. By making statements in a public forum about the car accident, you are creating the possibility of an argument with the other side that could result in the loss of the claim.
This advice is equally relevant regarding Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media sites. After your accident, you want to do all you can to make the best case possible and get the most compensation for your accident injuries. So, what should you say on social media about the accident? Nothing.
Rather than posting on social media and risking your Oregon auto accident case, reach out to a skilled personal injury attorney to learn how to obtain the most money possible for your injuries.
How Social Media Can Wreck Your Auto Accident Claim
Auto insurance companies exist because they pay out less in claims than they take in from premiums. They do everything they can to stay cash positive by reducing the amount they pay out in claims. If they can, they will use any excuse possible to deny your claim.
That is the reason insurance companies closely monitor social media websites. If you file a personal injury claim, odds are that an insurance company representative or attorney will search for you on Facebook and other social media sites. Here are some of the ways your posts on social media can torpedo your case:
#1 They Can Claim You Are Not Injured
A social media post that shows you walking, running, on vacation, gardening or just hanging out in your yard could be twisted as evidence that your injuries are exaggerated or nonexistent. Even if you were actually in pain while you were walking in your yard, the insurance company could use that post against you.
#2 Comments About the Crash Can Be Construed As Admission of Liability
Some car accident liability cases are simple, but others are not. Casual comments about the car accident can be used by an insurance adjuster or attorney to imply that you have admitted at least partial fault. If you admit partial fault, your claim in Oregon could be reduced by your percentage of blame for the accident. It is possible for the other driver to be completely at fault, but your statement on social media could be used to blame YOU.
#3 Posting Online Can Lead to Claim That You Are Fine Emotionally
Car accidents are stressful and scary. Pain and emotional trauma from serious injuries can be awful. But if you are posting cheerfully on Facebook as if everything is fine, the insurance company could argue that the crash did not affect you emotionally. Emotional trauma compensation can be substantial, but it is often entirely subjective. Do not give the other side any ammunition to deny your rights to compensation for emotional pain and suffering.
#4 Mentioning the Case Online Can Damage Confidentiality
When you share anything on social media, you are making it public knowledge. Do not assume that setting your privacy settings in any particular way is going to prevent anyone online from seeing your posts. In this case, any confidentiality protections that you have, such as when you talk to your personal injury attorney, will no longer be applicable. Car accidents often involve sensitive financial and medical information, so you should keep all details about your case to yourself and your lawyer.
#5 Criticizing the Insurance Company Can Be Used Against You
Everyone is tempted to vent their frustrations with the auto insurance company after a fight over compensation for an accident. But if you put your feelings online, the insurance company could argue that you are negotiating in bad faith. If they argue this successfully, the insurance company might not need to negotiate with you. Remember that anything you post online could become public.
Tips for Handling Social Media After an Accident
With so many pitfalls surrounding the use of social media after a car accident, how should you handle it? Consider the following;
- Set all social media privacy settings to private. Only your current friends should be able to see your posts. If the site lets you prevent people from posting on your wall or sharing your posts, take advantage of these features. But again, never assume that privacy settings will prevent the public from seeing what you post.
- Do not add new friends or followers during your case unless you really know and trust them. Do not add an auto insurance adjuster or insurance company employee to your friends list.
- To be totally safe, do not post anything at all on social media until your case is resolved and all paperwork is signed. If you do post anything, do not write a word about the claim or accident. If you need to update anyone about these matters, do so privately. And warn them to not post anything publicly about the claim.
A Word About Private Profiles
Some people think that making a Facebook or Twitter account private can stop people from getting information from the accounts if there is a trial. Wrong. Limiting the public’s access to your social media accounts does not stop the defense from accessing your social media profiles whether they are private or not. Defense attorneys can access private messages and may be able to see posts that you deleted.
Using the private setting on your account is not a bad idea; you can do this to keep it active but unseen by the public until after the claim is completed. Privacy settings can also prevent other site members from tagging you in pictures or posting information to your account.
What To Say After the Accident Online
Never say anything about the accident. Do not post any updates or pictures of yourself after the crash. Again, it is best to not post at all on Facebook or other social media until the case is completed. Here is why: The most innocent social media post could be used by the defense to damage your claim. Say that you are trying to get compensation for a whiplash injury, but you post on Facebook about driving to the mall in Portland to shop. The defense could argue that your ability to drive shows your whiplash is not serious or is being faked.
Social Media Will Be Subpoenaed
The defense can subpoena information from your social media accounts. Anything that you post on social media could be obtained by the defense or insurance company, so it is always best to post nothing at all.