So you just got into a car accident. There is a question as to who is at fault. You, being the gregarious person that you are, post to all 1,259 of your closest Facebook friends about the incident. Later, as the case goes to trial, the attorney from the opposing party uses such posts to contradict the testimony you provided at your deposition. Seems like an episode of the Twilight Zone? Think again. This is an unfortunate reality for many people who choose to let the world know about the injuries they sustain in automobile accidents.
This problem is not limited to those Millennials who have grown up in an age never actually knowing what privacy means. Many Boomers also are unaware of how public their information has become. Many social media companies use your personal information in exchange for the services they provide. Laws in the United States have yet to keep up with the constant ways these companies can capture and use your information, so it is important for users to always be vigilant about the information they provide to such companies. Some companies, such as Facebook, can create profiles about people even if they don’t have an account.
If you have been in an auto accident, it is important to restrain yourself from broadcasting it to the world. Even with some privacy settings, pictures and posts can still be visible via an internet search. Don’t mention the injury, any treatment you are receiving, any names of witnesses or parties, their attorneys, the judge or jury, insurance people, or any other person related to the accident. And please, refrain from posting pictures of yourself. If you are claiming a serious back injury and your Foursquare account shows you checking in at the gym every day, it is going to hurt your claim. As a matter of fact, it may be best to remove any postings before a discovery request comes in from the opposing party. Opposing counsel and insurance companies are searching for you to find any evidence not to pay you anything for your claim.
There are some things you can do right now to protect your privacy. The first is to update your privacy settings on all your social media accounts. If you can avoid it, try not to use your personal name, just use an alias as your screen name and as the registered user name. Searching for yourself on the internet will give you an idea of what others can see about you. Finally, remember the old saying that you shouldn’t write or say anything to anyone else unless you want the whole world to know.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Your case may be different. Hiring an attorney immediately will protect your rights. Consult an attorney in your area for further guidance.