Making social media posts is pretty much a daily occurrence for most people these days. There are so many apps that let you connect with friends, family, coworkers, and total strangers, and posting frequently lets you make the most of them. However, you should know that posting on social media after a car accident is a bad idea, and it is one of the few times when keeping yourself completely logged off can be very beneficial.
Insurance Companies Browse Social Media for Evidence
You know that you can find out more about the people in your community through their social media presence. But auto insurance companies know this, too.
After a car accident, you can be sure that an insurance adjuster from the other driver’s insurance company will be tasked with checking your social media accounts for any evidence of liability. For example, if you posted a photograph from the driver’s seat only minutes before the accident, then the insurer would have an easier time arguing that you must have been distracted behind the wheel. Even the timing of your likes, comments, and shares can hurt your claim in this way.
Your posts from days, weeks, or months after your crash can also be unexpectedly problematic for your recovery. Insurance companies will comb through new posts to see if there are signs that you are exaggerating your injuries. For example, a picture of you at a theme park with your friends after you said your lower back was hurt in a crash looks bad, even if didn’t go on any rides and you were in a wheelchair the whole day except for that one photograph. The fact is that the other insurance company will have a starting point to chip away at your case, which is not something you ever want to hand them yourself.
Social Media Posts are “Forever”
When thinking of staying off social media, you probably first think to log off from Facebook because it is still the predominant social media site and app. But don’t forget about all the other apps you use like Instagram and Twitter.
Perhaps more importantly, you need to beware of using “temporary” posting features like Instagram Stories, Snapchat, and TikTok. While those posts seem to disappear within 24 hours or less, depending on the app, they actually do not. Social media posts last “forever,” or at least much longer than you probably realize.
“Temporary” social media post lasts for a long time due to:
- Servers: The servers that host social media platforms save essentially every piece of data that goes through them, even confidential posts that go from one user to another. It is true that most of this data will remain unseen for as long as it exists, it is also true that it can be accessed if the situation calls for it.
- Screencaps: Anyone who sees your temporary post can screencap it on their own device and save it. The information might be gone from your phone and your feed later, but it remains just as it was in their phone. If that information was damaging to your car accident claim, then you might have cause for worry.
Privacy Settings are Not Confidentiality Agreements
Lastly, it is important to realize that the privacy settings you use on social media are not strictly binding confidentiality agreements. Posts you make in “private” are still considered to be in the public domain as far as any court will be concerned. Time and again in recent years, courts have been asked to weigh in on this situation, and they have repeatedly agreed that all social media posts are public because the information can be immediately disseminated elsewhere by anyone who sees it beyond the original publisher. Basically, if your friends saw your post, then their friends saw it by proxy, and so did their friends, and so on.
Log Off After a Crash
The safest way you can be sure that your car accident case won’t be jeopardized by your own social media posts is to not make any. Log off your apps and add an extra sign-in protection layer to use them, like needing to type a second password. This step will remind you not to use the app until your case closes, or your car accident attorney says it should be safe to use them again.
Need help with a car accident case in Ohio? Contact Ross, Midian & Breitmayer, LLC for legal counsel that you can trust.