If you consistently update your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you may want to reconsider your social media habits following a motorcycle accident. Inappropriate posts can cause severe damage to your personal injury claim.
Suggesting Fault for the Accident
After an accident, it’s important not to say anything that implies you are at fault, but a surprisingly number of people fail to realize this applies to social media content, as well. Posts that suggest you were tired, distracted, or speeding at the time of the accident can be used as evidence against you.
Louisiana still allows you to receive compensation as a partially at-fault party, but your settlement will be proportionally reduced by your percentage of fault. If your accident involves severe injuries, as is common in motorcycle crashes, even being 10% at fault could result in several thousand dollars of lost compensation.
Casting Doubt on Your Injuries
Another common problem with social media use following a bike crash is that your posts may cast doubt on the extent of your injuries. Social media could cause problems if you:
- Discuss engaging in activities that would be difficult or impossible with the injuries you received
- Link motorcycle accident injuries to injuries from a previous incident
- Make light of the seriousness of the accident
Keep in mind that your social media activity includes written status updates, as well as comments, photos, videos, and location check-ins. For example, a location check-in at a local bowling alley may look suspicious if you are seeking compensation for a back injury. You may have only been watching others play, but you don't want to put yourself in the position of having to justify your actions.
Using Past Behavior to Discredit Your Testimony
Social media posts following an accident are the most problematic, but previous posts can sometimes cause additional issues by reflecting poorly on your character. For example, posts that joke about reckless driving or speeding could imply that you are not cautious when you take your bike on the road. Photos of you with your biker friends surrounded by empty beer cans might suggest that you operate your bike while intoxicated.
Social Media Safety Tips
The safest course of action if you have a pending personal injury claim is to simply stay off social media sites all together. If you're not sharing information, your posts can't be used against you.
If staying away from social media all together is impossible, keep in mind the following tips:
- Double check your privacy settings.
- Do not accept friend requests from people you don't know.
- Investigate a friend request from someone you do know to ensure it's not a cloned profile.
- Do not make any references to the accident or your physical or mental health.
- Avoid posting photos or videos while your case is pending.
- Monitor posts you've been tagged in by friends, or ask friends not to tag you until your case is settled.
Although posting on social media can pose a real risk to your case, it's never a good idea to simply delete all of your online accounts. This could be interpreted by the defense as destruction of evidence. A sudden disappearance of your social media profiles will look suspicious, especially if you were a prolific social media user before the accident.
If you are concerned about specific social media content negatively impacting your case, ask your attorney how to proceed.
The Value of Legal Representation
Personal injury claims for motorcycle accidents can include compensation for medical expenses, anticipated medical costs, lost wages, anticipated loss of future earning potential, and pain and suffering. Since motorcycle accidents often involve serious or permanently disabling injuries such as a traumatic brain injury or paralysis, settlements can be substantial. The best way to protect your right to compensation is to hire an experienced personal injury attorney who can gather evidence to prove liability, document your damages, and negotiate with the at-fault driver's insurance company on your behalf.
Neblett, Beard & Arsenault advocates for the rights of Louisiana residents who've been injured in motorcycle accidents caused by negligent drivers. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your legal options.