Over the years, you have likely heard warnings about the permanence of the Internet, and here’s a reminder: What’s shared online remains online forever. Regardless of age, location, or profession, this truth holds.
This article aims not to alarm but to inform. We’re here to offer guidance on navigating the social media world while entangled in a Los Angeles personal injury case. Being well-informed prepares you to successfully navigate your legal situation and get the compensation you deserve.
Los Angeles Personal Injury Law Firms Have Your Back
At the Offices of John J. Perlstein, our top-tier wrongful death lawyers and personal injury attorneys in Los Angeles, CA can help you navigate complex legal procedures. But while part of a lawsuit, exercising caution with social media is crucial. In fact, we advise ditching social media altogether.
Keep reading to understand how social media can affect your Los Angeles personal injury case, and learn the essential do’s and don’ts when conducting your online life following a car accident, fire incident, dog bite catastrophe, and more. (Hint: Avoiding social media in the wake of your case can positively impact your mental well-being, too.)
The Role of Social Media in Personal Injury Cases
Day by day, we continue to transition and adapt to this new era of the digital age, which offers easier and faster communication, seamless connectedness cross-country, greater efficiency in the workforce, and more. But the rise of social media comes with downsides, too: compromised privacy, reduced face-to-face interaction, and increased surveillance.
In light of a Los Angeles personal injury or wrongful death case, social media may be used against you in a court of law to disprove your claim. Your posts on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn can be scrutinized by the defendant’s private investigator to challenge your claim or alter the narrative in the defendant’s favor.
How Can Social Media Hurt My Personal Injury Case?
Here are some concrete ways that social media can affect your Los Angeles personal injury case for the worse:
- Evidence against you. Captions, photos, videos, messages, and even geolocation data can serve as crucial evidence, contradicting your claims and boosting the opposing party’s arguments. It is fair game for the jury, police, insurance companies, a private investigator, or a personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles to scour the Internet and use your posts against you.
- Challenged witness credibility. A witness’ social media presence can be used to question their credibility if there are inconsistencies between their online activity and court testimony. If there’s a mismatch, the jury will deem the witness’ credibility as weak or mistrusted.
- Threatened privacy. Sharing sensitive case-related information or opinions on ongoing legal matters can breach confidentiality and privacy. This can lead to legal consequences, especially if it violates orders or confidentiality agreements.
Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media While Your Personal Injury Case Is Pending
- Keep your accounts private.
- Untag yourself from questionable photos your friends may have posted of you.
- Take a break from social media until your case is closed.
- Consult your lawyer before posting or discussing anything online if you’re unsure.
- Accept friend requests from people you don’t know.
- Post photos engaging in physical activities.
- Share vacation or travel photos.
- Discuss case details or injuries online.
- Provide health or recovery updates online.
Practical Example Highlighting Social Media’s Negative Impact On Your Personal Injury Case
Let’s say you were involved in an accident on a residential street. The driver that hits you runs through a stop sign, crashing into the passenger side of your car at a speed exceeding the limit. The sudden jolt results in severe neck and back pain. You told your lawyer about the accident and said it caused you mental distress and severe pain.
A few weeks later, you decide that you need to get back into your normal daily routine. Laying in bed for 21 days straight only causes more mental distress and stiffness in your neck, so you decide to book a hot yoga class. You feel proud after your first studio visit since your accident. You post a photo on Instagram to show your friends.
In your mind, you know that you took it easy in the class, avoiding any strenuous poses that could aggravate your neck or back. The lawyers and jury can use your photo to disprove your injury claims in court. This single photo of you doing a yoga pose on your yoga mat causes you to lose thousands of dollars.
If you skimmed your way through this article up until this point, there is one key takeaway to remember: We advise that you avoid social media altogether if you’re involved in a personal injury case. A single online post could alter the outcome of your legal proceedings for the worse.
Plus, taking a break from social media can reduce anxiety and improve your mental health. A social media cleanse can make you feel refreshed and more connected to your friends in real life.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney (Los Angeles)
If you find yourself involved in a personal injury case, our expert personal injury and wrongful death attorneys can help guide you through the court proceedings, while ensuring the content on your social media accounts does not affect the result of your case.
John J. Perlstein is one of the best personal injury attorneys in Los Angeles. He has over 25 years of experience securing fair and just outcomes in personal injury cases and wrongful death cases. He will use his knowledge and expertise to work with you to safeguard your social media presence and ensure accurate compensation for your claim.
You can reach us at (213) 583-5786. Or, fill out the form on our website to schedule a free consultation with a Los Angeles injury attorney. This consultation will provide you with an opportunity to tell us the details of your case and let us determine how we can help you get the justice you deserve.