How Can Social Media Help (Or Hurt) My Car Accident Lawsuit?
Many of us are accustomed to sharing every detail of our day with our friends (and even random strangers) on social media. And if you are involved in something as sudden and unexpected as a car accident, your first inclination may be to post pictures of what happened for everyone to see on Instagram or Facebook. But could that actually work against you in court down the road?
Social media is always something of a double-edge sword. This is especially true when it comes to dealing with something like a car accident. Indeed, social media can be helpful when gathering potential evidence to support a personal injury claim following an accident. But it can also be a trap if you are not careful and possibly undermine your case before it even begins.
Why You Need to Be Careful
You are no doubt familiar with the common warning in criminal cases that “anything you say can be used against you in a court of law.” The same is true of civil cases. Any public statement that you make on social media–now matter how innocent it seems to you–may later be introduced as evidence against you by the defense.
For example, it is generally a bad idea to post any details or pictures of your accident or injuries online. The reason for this is simple. If anything you post is somehow inconsistent with what you later alleged or say in court, that could work against you. So you have to be careful when saying anything on social media following an accident. Even something unrelated to the accident itself may be misinterpreted as evidence of your state of mind at the time of the crash.
You also need to remember that anything you post online, even in a “private” setting, can easily be shared by your friends and contacts with a wider audience. This can include the defendant and their attorneys. The last thing you want is for a judge or jury to think your accident injuries were not that serious just because you posted some pictures of yourself at a party dated the week after the crash that were taken out of context.
Using Social Media to Your Benefit
On the flip side, social media can be an invaluable tool when gathering information to use against the defense. Everything discussed above applies equally to a defendant. So if the person you are suing makes comments online regarding the accident, that could provide useful evidence in court.
Another good use of social media is to locate potential witnesses. While it is always best to take down the names and contact information for witnesses at the scene of an accident, that is not always practical. But you can use sites like Facebook or Nextdoor to let people know that you are looking for anyone who might have seen what happened. Once again, however, you need to be careful in not revealing any details or information that might be used against you.
Before doing anything, you should first consult with an experienced Monterey car accident attorney who can advise you on what to do–and what not to do. Contact the Allen Law Firm today to speak with a member of our personal injury team.