Social media is a great way to communicate with family, friends and even people you have never met if you find you have something in common to share with them. At the same time anyone can access some of your posts without getting your permission. If you have been arrested, anything you have posted on social media may be used as evidence against you. It is quite legal now to use social media posts as evidence in court in both criminal and civil cases. This also applies to civil cases like claims for personal injuries.
Social media and personal injury claims
There have been personal injury cases in which a judge has not accepted a personal injury claim from a plaintiff because some social media posts did not correspond with the claim. One example worth thinking about is if you file a personal injury claim based on an injury you have sustained from either medical negligence or public liability. In your claim, you state you are unable to work, but the insurer responsible for paying your claim looks at your social media account and finds recent photos of you out playing in a team sports game. Winning a successful personal injury claim may then be a difficult task. Even if there is no photo, a comment from a friend saying you “played a great game last week” may raise suspicions from the insurer. Insurers are notorious for accessing social media accounts in order to avoid paying personal injury compensation.
You may have had a car accident that wasn’t your fault, but to qualify for CTP from the other driver’s insurer you will need to prove that you were actually injured. If you post anything on your social media account implying you were not injured, then the insurer will pounce on that information and if your claim goes to court this evidence will be used against you.
Accept that anything on social media is publicly accessible
Even if you think that you are only sharing your social media posts with specific friends you can never be sure that they are confidential. Evidence can be obtained on social media and legally be used in court.
Protect yourself from social media
As soon as the injury takes place you should follow the correct procedure for filing a personal injury claim. Don’t delay, as any insurer may think you have had the time to make up the claim if you leave it too long to file it. The first thing to do is notify the person who you believe is responsible for the injury. If the injury was caused in a motor vehicle accident you should report it to the police. Similarly, if it happened in a public place, you should report it to the relevant authority.
You should also get a medical report from your doctor that describes your injuries and how they took place. By following the correct procedure, it will make it more difficult for an insurer to try and disprove your claim by accessing your social media pages. You should ensure your personal injury claim is lodged by the deadline, which is 9 months from the date of your injury. Before you do this, you should seek legal advice so that you can get the most out of your personal injury claim without worrying about an insurer browsing through your social media posts.