Many residents of Denver and northeast Colorado use at least one social media platform such as Facebook. As recent statistics from the Pew Research Center show, about 70 percent of U.S. adults use at least one social media site, and that number is increasing.
When the Pew Research Institute first began tracking social media usage in 2005, only about 5 percent of adults in the U.S. used Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or another social media site. By 2011, about 50 percent of American adults were using some form of social media. The percentage of Americans who are active on social media has continued to grow.
Yet comments and photos posted on social media can be extremely damaging in a personal injury lawsuit. You may assume that the privacy settings on your account can prevent others from gaining access to your posts.
You may not think about your social media activity being used against you. However, postings on social media after an accident—or even being tagged on another person’s photos or postings—can undermine your Colorado personal injury lawsuit.
If you have questions about social media and your personal injury claim, an experienced Colorado personal injury lawyer can speak with you today.
Information on Social Media Can Be Used Against You in Your Colorado Personal Injury Lawsuit
Many of us have smartphones, which have apps for social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and others. This means that our social media profiles are readily available, even when we are not in front of a computer.
Most Social Media Information is “Discoverable” and Available to the Defendant
According to the Pew Research Center’s statistics, Facebook is the most common social media platform. Nearly 80 percent of adult users say their daily routine includes Facebook.
More than 90 percent of Facebook users visit the site at least once per week. Instagram and Twitter are also popular, with weekly frequencies at nearly 80 percent and approximately 65 percent, respectively.
For most Colorado residents who regularly use social media, the chances are good that you have selected certain privacy settings to limit access to your posts. As we mentioned above, “private” on social media does not necessarily mean that your words and pictures cannot be accessed by people who are outside your network.
As a report from the American Bar Association (ABA) explains, you must understand that there is a limited expectation of privacy whenever you “check in” on social media, post a photo, or post an update.
In other words, your Facebook posts are never truly private, and the defendant may be able to access them during the discovery phase of a lawsuit.
Tips for Social Media When You File a Colorado Personal Injury Claim
You should not attempt to go back and delete any statuses or posts or images that you think might be damaging. Even items that you have deleted may be accessible by the other side.
- Simply do not post to social media—including status updates, images, or even “re-shares” or “re-tweets”—when you are in a personal injury lawsuit. You may even consider deactivating your accounts until your personal injury claim has been resolved.
- If you are going to keep your social media accounts open, change your privacy settings so that others cannot “tag” you in posts. This allows you to control the content of any social media messages that are linked to you.
- Change your privacy settings so that only close friends and family members can access your information. While even seemingly private posts still may be accessible by the defendant during discovery, it is a good idea to restrict access to your social media accounts to the extent possible.
- Never post any information about your lifestyle, your health, or your general well-being. This means avoiding any posts about where you go on trips, which restaurants you frequent, when you have a doctor’s appointment, and even status updates about how you are feeling on a particular day. Any of this information could be used against you by the defendant.
- Streamline your social media accounts by ensuring that anyone who is a “friend” with access to your information is actually a friend in real life.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney in Colorado
Do you have questions about social media and your personal injury claim? An experienced personal injury attorney in Colorado can answer your questions today.