Social Media and Personal Injury Cases: Dos and Don’ts in Arkansas

Social media apps viewed on a smartphone.

Statistics indicate that Americans spend an average of 2 hours and 7 minutes on social media daily. Social media allows you to share your pictures, videos, thoughts, opinions, and more with others. But its usage comes with risk – legally.

Some things that you may post on social media could come back to hurt you later. If you are involved in an Arkansas personal injury case, for instance, what you post online can significantly impact your claim and potentially reduce your chances of receiving fair compensation. 

In this article, we will discuss some social media dos and don’ts when it comes to personal injury claims in Arkansas. 

Do: Consider Pausing Your Social Media Accounts

Social media is designed so we can easily share what is going on in our lives with pretty much anyone. It can be difficult to know what is and is not okay to post during a personal injury accident case. 

With so many guidelines to keep in mind to avoid harming your claim, it may be better to pause your social media accounts until your case is settled.

Deactivating your accounts can reduce the temptation to post something about your accident case. Additionally, others will be unable to tag you in their posts. 

Don’t: Post About Your Case

You may be tempted to vent about your accident or share details about your personal injury case on social media, but doing so could be detrimental to your claim. It is safer to avoid posting about any aspect of the accident, your injuries, or ongoing legal proceedings. 

Keep in mind that anything on your account could potentially be used as evidence in court. The defense could even misconstrue a seemingly innocent post and use it against you. 

Do: Be Cautious When Posting Photos

Images you post online can call your case into question in ways you may be unable to predict. Exercise caution about the photos you post while your personal injury accident case is ongoing. 

Do not share pictures that contradict your injury claims or show you participating in activities that could undermine your case. Social media posts can inadvertently demonstrate what you are physically capable of doing after your injury. 

For example, you might post a picture of your family on a hike. Even if you are not in the photo, the opposing party might call into question who took the picture. If the answer is you, the defense has proof that you are physically capable of hiking. 

Don’t: Accept Friend Requests From Unknown Individuals

It is recommended that, throughout the duration of your personal injury case, you do not accept friend requests from people you don’t know. 

A common tactic used by insurance companies, lawyers, and other members of an opposing party is to send the plaintiff a friend request. They hope the request will be accepted so they can view any private content being posted that could be used to dispute your personal injury claim. 

Additionally, the defense may try to become friends with your friends and family to look for any posts about you or tagged photos that could be used against you. This brings us to the point of adjusting your privacy settings.

Do: Adjust Privacy Settings on Your Social Media Accounts

Review your privacy settings and make sure that they are set to the highest level. It is recommended that during the duration of your personal injury case, your profiles are not visible to the public. Your settings should be set so that your posts are only available for trusted friends and family to see – ideally inaccessible by “friends of friends.”

The time spent is worth it. When you restrict access to your social media accounts, you minimize the risk of the defendant using your post against you. 

Don’t: Delete or Modify Social Media Posts

In some situations, a person may make an error in judgment and carelessly post on a social media account about certain activities. If you do this, do not delete or modify the post even after realizing your mistake.

Once a personal injury claim has been filed and the defense lawyer has requested copies of your social media accounts, it is too late to delete any posts. Your social media content is now considered evidence that cannot legally be deleted. 

Deleting or modifying posts during a personal injury lawsuit can be seen as an attempt to manipulate or hide evidence. Thus, deletions could lead to your case being dismissed and you receiving a fine. 

Do: Warn Friends and Family to Be Cautious About What They Post

Even if you refrain from posting anything on your social media accounts, pictures and other comments from your friends and families could still harm your case. For this reason, ask people you know to avoid posting about your injury or lawsuit. 

It is also a good idea to ask your friends and family not to post pictures of you during the case and especially avoid tagging you in posts. The defendant could use such posts to counter any claims you have made about your physical or emotional well-being following the accident. 

Don’t: Comment on Others’ Social Media 

Besides being cautious about what you post on your social media platforms, you should also be careful about what you comment on other people’s posts. 

Remember: You cannot control the privacy settings on other’s social media accounts. If you are chatting about your neck injury from a car accident on someone else’s social media profile, you cannot prevent these comments from being shared with the public. 

Do: Exercise Caution When Sending Texts and Emails

In addition to being careful about your social media activity on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and other sites, you should be cautious about what you say in texts and emails about your injuries or your accident case. 

While texts and emails are generally considered to be a safer form of communication than social media, that information can still be subpoenaed and used as evidence. Thus, it is safer to avoid electronically communicating information that could be misconstrued or used against you. 

Don’t: Use Social Media “Check-Ins”

A “check-in” on Facebook and other social media platforms allows users to show people geographical locations and events that they have visited. While seemingly harmless, sharing your location can negatively impact your personal injury claim. 

As an example, if you claim to have sustained a back injury in an accident but later “check in” at the local batting cages, it is going to appear as if you are lying or exaggerating the severity of your injuries. 

Do: Be Aware Posts Can Be Used to Discredit Your Emotional State

In addition to pursuing money for your physical injuries, your Arkansas accident attorney could help you seek compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, or other non-economic damages. If you post something in which you appear happy and enjoying life, this could be used to dispute your claim. 

For example, you may say that you have been suffering from social anxiety since the accident, but then you post a picture at a concert surrounded by hundreds of people. This could make your claim about your current mental and emotional condition seem exaggerated or even false. 

Don’t: Post Aggressive or Angry Comments

It is common for people to want to vent their frustrations about various situations on social media. While it is understandable that the weeks and months following your accident and injuries may be frustrating, refrain from posting any aggressive or angry rants. 

Your case could easily be jeopardized by sharing anything negative about the negligent party, their attorney, or their insurance company. 

Do: Consult an Arkansas Personal Injury Attorney Right Away

A personal injury attorney can answer any questions and address any concerns you have about using social media while your case is ongoing. Your lawyer can provide you with specific guidelines tailored to your situation, letting you know what types of posts could potentially harm your claim. 

When you need to express any frustration about the accident or share updates about your injury, do so with your lawyer. This will ensure that all communication about your personal injury claim is protected according to attorney-client confidentiality – not available for public scrutiny. 

The Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys at Minton Law Firm Are Here to Help

The lawyers at Minton Law Firm understand that the time following an accident can be overwhelming and stressful. While social media can appear to be an informal and personal way to express yourself, it is important to navigate it with caution when involved in any legal matter. 

The information you share with others online can mean the difference between you winning your personal injury case or having to pay for your losses out of pocket. Following the advice of an Arkansas accident lawyer can help you avoid social media usage pitfalls that could affect your personal injury claim. 

At Minton Law Firm, we take all cases on a contingency fee basis. You do not pay any upfront costs or fees. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Call us 24/7 at 855-Xadjuster or complete our contact form here at the bottom of this page. 

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