Social Media Networking Sites & Auto Accidents: Facebook Fans Beware
Undoubtedly, every auto accident that occurs in the United States is different from the next. However, several of the same factors must be determined immediately after a motor vehicle accident occurs, including the speed in which the vehicles were travelling, the road conditions that were present at the time of the crash, and the scope of all personal and property damages sustained by its victims. Traditional forms of evidence, such as witness accounts and police reports, typically assist auto accident lawyers in determining causation and liability. In recent years however, additional forms of evidence have proven helpful to personal injury defense lawyers and insurance companies alike. In fact, they have caused some people to lose out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages.
With the advent of new technology, it is not surprising that text messages, emails and even Facebook posts have been used by the above entities to deny liability or monetary compensation for one’s injuries. In fact, social networking sites such as Facebook have become the focal point of both insurance companies’ and defense counsel’s investigations of an accident, as it is often a place where people post private aspects about themselves. For example, thousands of Facebook users post photos of themselves while on vacation, at a party, or enjoying some other endeavor. However, if someone was recently involved in a auto accident where they are claiming thousands of dollars in personal injury damages, it is important to realize that such posts can become extremely problematic. Specifically, private information on Facebook may become public and quite possibly, taken out of context or misinterpreted in a way to be used against you in a court of law. Meaning, if you are claiming to be injured, yet are depicted through photos on Facebook as physically active, this could negatively impact your car accident case. In light of the foregoing, it is highly recommended that you consider the following tips if you have been involved in an accident:
- Always remain silent. Never post anything about your accident on Facebook or other social networking sites. Unfortunately, it is often easy for insurance companies or defense attorneys to gain access to your personal Facebook page (even if you have the maximum privacy settings) and use the information that you post as a way to deny your claims or develop a strong defense case against you. Remaining silent is key to avoiding these types of serious legal challenges.
- Consider suspending your page throughout the pendency of your case. Our personal injury attorneys often recommend to clients that they not post anything while their legal cases are pending. In many cases, we urge clients to suspend their personal page to avoid information from being obtained and, potentially misconstrued.
- Make sure your security settings are updated and at the highest privacy setting. Social networking sites such as Facebook offer various security options for its users. For example, some users may choose to allow anyone from the public to access their site however, others opt to restrict access to only their closest family and friends. Be sure to change your settings so that they are fully protective of you and the information that you post. Additionally, never accept “friend” requests from people who you do not know. This is a primary way in which others can obtain access to your personal site, so be safe and never allow someone access to your personal site who you do not know.
- Do not allow yourself to be tagged in photos. Photographs of you while jet skiing, mountain climbing, hiking, or engaging in some other type of physical activity while pursuing a personal injury lawsuit can be devastating to your case. Accordingly, do not allow friends or family to tag you in pictures on Facebook. If possible, advise your friends not to take pictures of you in the first place while your accident case is pending.
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If you were injured in a car, motorcycle or trucking accident, our attorneys can help. The personal injury attorneys at Lundy Law are highly experienced in handling all types of vehicular accidents, regardless of how challenging or complex. Call us today at 1-800-LundyLaw to learn more about your legal rights and options. We represent auto accident victims located throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey. We look forward to helping you obtain the compensation you rightfully deserve.