Social media posts can be used by the defendant’s attorneys to undermine your slip-and-fall case. No matter the content, purpose, or intended audience of a social media post, as a matter of public record, it can be used to weaken or destroy your claim.
Despite being completely honest about your injuries and having evidence to prove how they interfere with your life, if you post photos or other materials on social media, they become open to misinterpretation, which could create doubt about your damages and undermine your case.
If you have been injured after slipping and falling on someone else’s property, Los Angeles slip and fall attorney Sean Salamati recommends that you proceed with caution when it comes to social media.
How Social Media Can Be Used Against You in a Lawsuit
There are two primary ways that the defendant’s lawyers will attempt to use your social media, or social media involving you, to undermine your claims:
Make no mistake: the defendant’s insurance company will assign someone to your case whose sole focus is minimizing the amount of your financial recovery for the injuries you sustained in a slip and fall accident.
Generally, the more severe and disabling your injuries are, the more your case will be worth. However, when slip-and-fall victims post updates, photos, or check-ins on social media that seem to contradict their claims, the value of their lawsuit may plummet if the defendant brings it to light.
The defendant’s insurance company will find a way to monitor everything you post on social media and even posts by others that mention you or are shared with you, looking for the slightest bit of evidence they can use against you.
California is what’s known as a “Comparative Fault” State. This means that compensation is awarded based on how much fault, or negligence, is placed on each party. For example, if damages total $100,000 and the defendant was 90% at fault while the plaintiff was 10% at fault, then the plaintiff would receive $90,000 from a slip and fall settlement.
Experienced attorneys, like the ones a defendant’s insurance company keeps, will look to exaggerate your negligence to skew those numbers. They may use social media posts, comments, or tags to suggest that you were more at fault than you were, skewing a 90-10 fault ratio to a 60-40 fault ratio, thereby reducing the amount of compensation you are eligible to receive.
If you are seeking damages for loss of enjoyment of life due to the injuries you have sustained in your accident, but then a photo pops up on social media that shows you out on the town having fun with your friends, it might call into question your credibility. This doesn’t just apply to pictures and videos you share of yourself.
If you sustained a back injury in a slip-and-fall accident, but your friend tags you in a video of the two of you running together, it might call into question the validity of your claim. Comments can also pose a risk to your claim. Defense attorneys can misinterpret them before a judge or jury to make your claim seem less severe or paint you as a liar. Defense attorneys may also make use of older photos to cast doubt on your character and use that to undermine your claim.
To safeguard their right to compensation, many slip-and-fall injury victims change the settings on all social media accounts to private, meaning only certain people can access their posts. While that is a wise step, savvy insurance companies and their investigators can still find a way to access your account. If they fail to access, the defendant can always subpoena your social media posts, so the judge may order you to turn it all over to the opposition.
Social media use should be reconsidered after a slip and fall accident case. One of the most intelligent and safest actions you can take while your slip and fall case is pending is not to post anything on social media and make sure that none of your loved ones share, mention, or tag you in any posts.
If you absolutely must post on social media, then be sure to avoid mentioning your case and limit your activity to liking other people’s posts and sharing links to news articles. If you’re ever in doubt, talk with your attorney before posting anything on social media.
If you’ve already posted about the accident and are now thinking about deleting those posts, do not. This can severely undermine your case as it is considered destruction of evidence. Contact an experienced slip and fall attorney for advice on how to proceed with all aspects of a slip and fall case.
Protect Yourself from Your Insurance Company
Given how much is at stake in your case, it makes sense to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer at the Salamati Law Firm who knows the tactics that insurance company investigators will use to try to weaken your case and can advise you how best to avoid any unnecessary social media pitfalls while your claim awaits resolution.
Don’t leave money on the table. Take on the deep-pocketed insurance company with a lawyer who has spent over two decades building a reputation for integrity and results in cases just like yours. Call anytime, 24/7, for a free case review.