If you have filed a claim for an injury you sustained due to a fall or other accident, you may have heard that staying off social media is the best way to handle social media. This is basically true; increasingly, lawyers and investigators are using social media accounts to disprove personal injury claims. However, social media has become a major way for people to communicate, and it can be difficult to remain off social media for a long time. If you decide to use social media while waiting for your case to be resolved, you must take special care not to hint at anything that could derail your case. Here are three things you must do if you plan to go near any of your accounts.
Stop posting publicly, and tighten up your privacy settings as much as you can. For example, if you can make your account totally private so that just you and your current followers can see your account, do so. Don't allow others to tag you, don't allow others to see what anyone has liked on your page, and so on. It's very common nowadays for lawyers to do basic internet searches to see what posts pop up. If you have any settings that allow the public to see your profile, page, or any postings, chances are the lawyers will see them, too. Note that courts can still force you to allow lawyers to have access to your account even if it's private, so don't rely solely on privacy settings to save your case.
Stop accepting friend requests or allowing new followers unless you know who these people are in real life. Some people accept friend requests from anyone, increasing the risk of allowing a lawyer for the other side to see your profile -- remember, they can set up fake profiles, too. Even if the social media platform officially forbids fake profiles, that can't really stop people from setting them up if they make the profiles look legitimate.
Also be aware of your friends' friends and followers. Maybe you aren't accepting anyone who sends you a request, but one of your current friends might -- and that still opens you up to the risk of a lawyer gaining access to your posts. In order to reduce the risk of that, you also have to talk to your lawyer about what you can post. In other words: Set parameters
It is possible to make social media posts that are so innocuous that no lawyer could get any new information out of them. Talk to your own lawyer about what sort of information you can put in your posts. For example, if you claim you are having constant pain that isn't getting better, posting that today is a good day could be misconstrued as you confessing that you're feeling better. On the other hand, just commenting that your neighbor's flowers look pretty might be OK. Your lawyer can help set guidelines for what you can and can't post.
Before you do anything with those accounts, set up an appointment with your lawyer to discuss those guidelines and anything else you need to know about using social media in a way that won't destroy your case. It can be tricky, but it is possible. Click here for more information about social media and personal injury claims.