Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Handling Personal Injury Claims in the Seattle Area and Throughout Washington Since 1995

My name is Chris Thayer and I am a personal injury attorney practicing in downtown Seattle. I handle personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death claims throughout the greater Seattle area, including Issaquah, Mercer Island and Kirkland.

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Your Social Media Posts Affect Your Car Accident Claim

Posted Friday, September 23, 2016 by Chris Thayer

Nearly everyone has been affected by a car accident at one point or another. Whether you were involved or a friend or family member was injured, you know that the immediate effects can be devastating. You may have serious injuries, and people may be worried about you. Your first reaction may be to reassure everyone that you are doing fine; however, a simple social media post can cost you in a car accident claim.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are more than six million car accidents every year. The average auto liability claim for property damage is around $3,200, while bodily injury claims often rise above $15,000. These unexpected expenses can cause serious consequences, especially if you’re unable to work and face significant recovery time. Your first reaction after a car accident may not be to preserve your right to recovery from those responsible; however, it should be a consideration.

Everyone has a connection to social media. Either you or someone in your family has a Facebook profile, Instagram account, or Snapchat presence. After an accident, you may be tempted to let everyone know how you are doing or vent about what actually happened. However, everything you do and say on social media, a public domain, can be discovered in a car accident claim. You should post wisely and caution others who care about you to do so as well.

Social Media Posts That Minimize Your Situation

Your immediate reaction after a car accident may be to post a comforting status on Facebook. However, that notification that “you were in an accident, but seem to be okay” can have serious repercussions on your recovery. While trying to maximize the amount of damages you can receive from an insurance company or responsible party, you need to be extremely descriptive about your pain, suffering, and actual injuries. The more pain you suffer, the more you’ll recover. Although you should not lie, you also don’t need to minimize the situation to everyone on your friends list. Insurance companies and juries will take minimization of injuries as an opportunity to pay you less money for your losses.

Pictures Showing Risky Behavior Before Your Accident

If you regularly post pictures of yourself bungee jumping or racing cars, an insurance company or jury may believe that you have suffered previous injuries that are causing your current pain instead of the accident you recently experienced. Your posts about risky driving behavior may also cause some people to question whether the other driver was really at fault in light of your previous behavior. Make sure the activities you post on social media are all legal and seem to maintain reasonable behavior for a responsible person.

Posts About Activities Post-Accident

While you are claiming severe pain and suffering, your social media posts may be contradicting you. If you have recent posts of yourself taking part in physical activities or strenuous work habits, an insurance company or jury may think you are being less than honest about your actual injuries. You should be honest about your injuries as well as your abilities post-accident. Be careful not to hype up the activities in which you are taking part just to get a few extra likes on Facebook.

Multiple Injury Posts

If you are frequently injured or have had multiple car accidents in the past, your current claim may be devalued. If you’ve posted extensively about those injuries on social media, an insurance company can discover those incidents during a lawsuit. Insurance companies will take any measures necessary to reduce their payouts, and proof of prior injuries that are contributing to your current pain and suffering will help them prove that they are not completely responsible for your damages.

Emotion-Filled Posts

A significant area of recovery during a car accident claim involves mental anguish and suffering. It can be difficult to prove how much anguish you have experienced. You must show that the car accident and your injuries have harmed you mentally and have had negative effects on your life. Social media posts that express intense emotions can prove that you are not suffering as much as you are claiming or that you are simply a dramatic person by nature. In either event, insurance companies and juries will be less likely to believe your side of the story if your social media posts are contradictory or seem over the top.

What Should You Do?

Car accident claims can be complex. You must prove economic and non=economic damages, both of which can be negatively impacted by careless social media posts. However, once you find out that a post is negatively impacting your claim, you cannot simply delete it. That constitutes destruction of evidence. Your best course of action is to live a meaningful, humble life before any accident occurs and to beef up your security as much as possible. Only friends you know well should see your posts, and do not accept any new friend requests after an accident until the claim is settled.

An experienced car accident lawyer can help guide you through the complicated legal process after a car accident. Contact Chris Thayer today to find out if any of your social media accounts may negatively affect your situation after an accident. We will review anything questionable and help you decide what steps to take next.