Social media is an integral part of so many Canadians lives. A study completed by the Ryerson Social Media Lab at Ted Rogers School of Management indicated that 94% of Canadian adults have an account on at least one social media platform. In addition, a study by CIRA revealed that 1 in 5 Canadians admitted to not going more than 8-hours without checking out on at least one social media site.
Many of us don’t even think twice about the stuff we share online. However, it is important to know that anything you share on social media after your car accident could hurt your destroy your case during a motor vehicle claim.
To help you better understand how social media can cause more harm than good, we are sharing 3 ways defence lawyers could use your social media posts, photos, and comments against you in a car accident lawsuit.
1. Avoid posting pictures or making any comments online immediately after the accident:
It’s natural to want to receive support from family and friends after a traumatic incident or share photos of the accident scene on social media. However, this usually does more harm than good.
Often after an accident, we are highly emotional, and the words you say online could be used against you. For example, you may apologize, even when it isn’t your fault. Or you may share innocent comments like “I never saw this coming” or “I just couldn’t stop in time.” The examples above could be used to argue against you, claiming that you contributed to the accident.
2. Take a Social Media Break:
Recovering from a motor vehicle accident can be a long and emotional process. Many of us want to get our life back to ‘normal’ again, which may include going for a walk or to dinner with friends. These activities are important for our mental wellbeing and recovery. However, if shared online, it can be damaging to your case.
For example, the other insurance company and their lawyers may use any moment of celebration or joy that you document on social media to claim you’re exaggerating your pain and suffering. Even though that one photo doesn’t tell the whole story – like how you were still in so much pain – the defence lawyers can still use that against you.
Note: If you do go out, make sure to communicate this to your friends. Ensure they do not post or tag any photos of you on their accounts either.
3. Avoid Talking About Your Case Online:
Your lawyer will ensure to maintain confidentiality when you share the details of your case with them. However, as soon as you share this information about your car accident and recovery journey online, that information becomes public.
Any confidential protection that would prevent the defence from knowing about this information is no longer possible. Therefore, avoid sharing the following online:
During a case like this, even ‘private’ accounts on social media are not truly private. A defence lawyer will try to get their hands on anything to prove your injuries are not as severe or that you contributed to the accident in some way.
What should you do instead?
We highly recommend that all of our clients stay off of social media after a motor vehicle accident. It might feel lonely and frustrating, but imagine how angry and helpless you’ll feel later if your social media activity ends up hurting your case. These innocent actions could end up costing you tens of thousands of dollars in potential damages.
Instead, we suggest that our clients journal their emotions and continue to document their recovery in private. You can also speak to friends/family members for support or reach out to a counsellor.
The most important step you can take if you have been injured in a car accident is to contact an experienced car accident/personal injury lawyer who will fight to protect your rights and provide guidance every step of the way. If you have any concerns or questions about your social media accounts or postings after an accident, do not hesitate to ask your lawyer.