Social Media Use After a Car Accident

Being involved in a car accident is emotional, scary, and results in the victim of the accident becoming very vulnerable. After the accident, the injured party often needs and wants to tell their friends, family, and connections about the accident and what has happened to them and their life. 

In today’s day and age, this is often communicated through social media websites such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or others. The communications on social media often include details about the accident and about what the injured victim is going through.

While recovering, it can seem only natural to use social media to talk to everyone about feelings, injuries, and the facts surrounding the accident. Although tempting, it’s always best to refrain from social media during this emotional time and only communicate with a car accident lawyer about the accident.

Should You Post on Social Media After a Car Accident?

Given what the victims of the accident are going through, they may really want to connect with people about the situation on social media.  One of the most commonly asked questions we get from clients is why not post on social media after a car accident?

We typically think it’s better not to post about the accident at all. Due to this accident, those injured will be dealing with an insurance adjuster. The adjuster’s job is to gather as much information about the people who were injured and the accident itself in order to help them “adjust” the value of your case. In other words, their job is to figure what the insurance company feels they have to pay you considering all the medical bills, pain and suffering, and other factors regarding your case. 

This means the insurance company is actively obtaining information from your social media venues. If you post about a car accident on Facebook or Instagram, the insurance adjuster may very well see this information. If it happens to help them skirt liability, you better believe they’ll use it. 

This is particularly true if your car accident is one that requires litigation. Although it is more difficult to get this information pre-suit without discovery or a subpoena, once a car accident lawsuit is filed, the insurance company will demand this information through legal discovery. If there is something that was posted to social media that helps them limit the compensation they owe or avoid paying you entirely, they’ll surely use it against you.

Posting on Facebook, Instagram, or Elsewhere Will Probably Be Relevant Evidence in Any Litigation

If the case goes into litigation, social media evidence about the car accident, injuries, damages, and more may become central to the case. This information will have to be produced in discovery – usually in response to a request by the insurance company’s lawyer.

This formal request called interrogatories or requests for production, will ask for not only copies of your medical records and bills, wage loss confirmation, and other personal losses, but will also ask for disclosure of all your social media information. As an example, if you tell your mother on Twitter that you may have run the red light but you don’t remember, that statement will be discoverable in your case even if it was later determined by the responding officers that you were not at fault. It could create evidence for the insurance company to escape liability even though you really don’t remember the accident. 

Particularly where your case goes to litigation, the insurance company will request preservation of all of your social media activity including deleted information. This will allow them to “mine” your information and use anything that assists them against you in your case. Insurance companies are in the business to make a profit. They accomplish this by paying as little compensation as possible to you. It will use your statements against you at trial if there is any advantage to doing so. 

Keep Information About the Case Between You and Your Accident Lawyer

Confirming information about your case is essential. Specifically, detailing injuries, medical treatment and bills, wage loss, pain and suffering, will be required. It is best not to post any of that information on social media as it could give ammunition to the insurance company in fighting your case and hurt you in the end. You should only communicate about your case with your car accident attorney. This will allow you to negotiate from a strong position when settling your case.

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About the Authors: Sawan & Sawan is a multi-generational, family owned law firm practicing law in the areas of car accidents, truck accidents, and other personal injury. Our firm practices law in Ohio, Georgia, and Michigan.

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Dennis P. Sawan

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