Social media profiles are no longer seen as a nice-to-have commodity. Instead, they’re seen as highly commonplace and practically second nature. In fact, in January of 2020, more than 3.80 billion people were using social media worldwide.
And while it’s nice to enjoy funny videos, connect with friends, and share touching photos, there’s a time and place for everything. If you recently suffered some dog bites and are looking to file legal action against the animal’s owner, your behavior online could be detrimental.
Certain behaviors or actions could, in fact, put the validity of your claim at risk. The following guide explores some of the ways your online life impacts your personal injury claim, as well as offer some advice on how to avoid any issues.
How Social Media Can Negatively Impact Your Dog Bite Case
It Could Delegitimize the Value of Your Claim
Insurance adjusters are known for trying to save their clients money when facing legal action. One of the most common ways they’ll do this is by looking for any possible evidence that might delegitimize the victim’s reported damages. To do this, they’ll often scour the internet for any of the victim’s social media pages and evaluate any postings or behavior that might be used as evidence to prove their claim isn’t really worth what they say it is.
For example, if your injury was on your leg, and you maintain a job that requires you to be on your feet for multiple hours a day, your attorney might have included loss of income in your settlement. However, if an adjuster went online and found pictures, videos, or tagged statuses of you engaging in physical activity, they would have significant evidence to negotiate against this part of your claim. They would likely argue that your injuries were not as severe as you stated they were, and that you are, in fact, capable of going to work.
It Could Make You Seem Liable
Personal injury cases are similar to criminal cases in that the person who accuses the other party is responsible for upholding the burden of proof. That means that your attorney will need to prove, without any doubt, that the other party was fully responsible for any injuries you sustained as a result of the dog bite.
Unfortunately, your behaviors on social media could be used against you to prove that you may have been even partially responsible for the accident. For example, a simple video of you running up to a dog on the street or roughhousing with a friend’s pet could give the opposing attorney room to argue that you did not exercise proper care or caution when approaching the animal. In this case, you might be considered liable because you were not adhering to proper due diligence when approaching another person’s property.
How to Prevent Issues with Your Claim
The most effective preventative measure while you’re preparing for your personal injury claim is to stay offline as much as possible. Adjusters can access your information even if your profile is private, and the less activity there is, the better your chances are of a successful case.
You should also advise any friends or family members who are aware of your case to avoid tagging you in posts or sharing information on your profile. Additionally, ask that they do not share anything on their own pages that pertain to you, your injury, or the upcoming proceedings.
Although it may seem overwhelming to make social networking sacrifices leading up to your claim, the results will pay off when your attorney is able to secure the compensation you deserve for your injuries.