CHICAGO, IL – We live in a time where social media is inevitable and we are accustomed to posting details of our life – some that can may be used against us. If you’ve recently been involved in a personal injury case, social media can backfire if you’re not careful what you post.
Celebrating triumphs and venting about tough times are things you typically see on your newsfeed or while clicking through stories. No matter how private your account may be, there is plenty of information on the internet about you – no matter how secure you think your profile is.
Can Social Media Posts be Admissible in Illinois Courts?
Illinois courts considered Electronically Stored Information (ESI) to be admissible under some circumstances. This can include any emails, texts, Twitter direct messages, Facebook statuses, Instagram stories, or other forms of electronic communication.
In order for your electronic communications to be admissible in Illinois courts, the content must meet four criteria:
- It must be relevant.
- It must be valuable to the defendant’s case.
- It cannot be hearsay.
- It must be authentic, meaning it was created by or about the defendant.
So, now you know your social media posts can be used against you in court, and by insurance companies to discredit your personal injury claim. Now let’s discuss what you can do to prevent this information from harming your case.
Don’t Post About Your Accident or Case on Social Media
After something traumatic has happened, it’s natural to want to discuss this with friends and family, and post about it on social media. The best thing you can do after you’ve been involved in an accident is not to not share any information about your injuries, accident, or case with anyone.
While it’s important to take pictures and videos of the scene of an accident; however, do not share these on social media. Sharing too many details on social media can be seen as trivializing your injuries. Insurance companies will use anything to discredit your injuries so they don’t have to pay, or lower your settlement, so it’s important to not give them a reason to discredit you.
This gives the defense and insurance companies an opportunity to rethink their approach to the case, and better prepare themselves.
Even Innocent Posts May Contradict Your Claim
The defense can frame your innocent posts to make them contradict your claim. What you may think is an innocent post can look misconstrued to the court. For example, a photo of you at a wedding won’t show that you were actually watching from a chair because you were too injured from your car accident to participate in celebrating, although you had plans to go for months. This type of evidence in powerful in injury cases.
Don’t Let Others Comment About Your Case
Comments from relatives and friends can also hurt your case. For example, lets say you were rear-ended by a semi-tractor trailer and were seriously injured. Your relative comments on your photo asking how you’re doing. You comment back a white lie to not worry your family saying, “Don’t worry Aunt Betty! I’m okay.” This could also seriously damage your case.
In turn, ask family and friends to also not post about you or your case. This can be just as damaging as you posting about it yourself.
Change Your Profile to “Private” and Don’t Post
While you have an ongoing case, the best thing you can do on social media is switching your profile to “private” and not post. This will help prevent your information from being readily available; however, it doesn’t make it impossible for a lawyer to access your profile. Some lawyers can even file motions in court to access your social media accounts.
Find an Illinois Personal Injury Lawyer
If you’re wondering if a post can impact your case, it’s best to not post about it at all. One innocent post can jeopardize your entire case, causing you to not receive the compensation you deserve for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
The skilled lawyers of the Dinizulu Law Group have your best interests in mind. Our attorneys have the knowledge and resources to work to secure compensation for our injured clients. Call for a free consultation so we can help guide you and the steps you should take following a personal injury case. Call our office now at (312) 384-1920 or visit our website for additional information.