How Social Media Can Affect Your Bicycle Accident Case: Dos and Don’ts

For many people, posting about daily life on social media is second nature. For some, that’s all the more true when something jarring or upsetting happens. We live in an age of sharing–sometimes oversharing. We’ve all seen friends unload about being cut off in traffic, an altercation with a co-worker, or even getting the wrong order at a fast food place.

That inclination may be especially strong with an incident like a bicycle accident. Getting hit by a car while riding a bike is traumatic, and the outcome may be far more serious than the temporary annoyances described above. The impulse is understandable, but it can hurt your case. Here are some dos and don’ts to protect against accidentally damaging your claim.

1. DO lock down your social media. Avoid public posts, even if you think they’re harmless or have nothing to do with the bicycle accident case. DON’T assume that because your social media is limited to friends or people you’ve approved, your content is safe.

Even if your social media is private to friends, it’s not entirely protected. A friend or friend of a friend may share something you posted, either innocently or in cooperation with someone who wants to hurt your claim. And, in some cases, your social media content can be accessed through the discovery process. Always post and comment as if what you are saying may be public, even if your settings are private.

2. DO talk to a local bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible after your bike accident. DON’T post on social media about your accident until you have received advice from your attorney.

It’s easy to make mistakes that can weaken your case, and innocent comments may be taken out of context and used against you in court. It’s best to say nothing, at least until your bicycle accident lawyer advises you on how to use social media safely after an injury.

3. DO exercise care about what you say about your bicycle accident.

DON’T offer details about how the accident happened or who was at fault.

When you’re posting on social media or talking to a friend, it’s common to dramatize or leave out details or even misspeak about a certain detail. But, even minor or accidental inconsistencies or omissions can come back to haunt you. The insurance company may use them to claim that you’ve changed your story, or that your memory isn’t clear.

4. DO keep medical information to yourself.

DON’T talk about your progress or recovery on social media.

It’s natural to want to share your victories, but recovery is often a mix of steps forward and back. Anything from a missed appointment to an experimental attempt to push your body further than you’ve been able to up to that point in your recovery can be plucked out of context and used to suggest that it’s your fault your recovery was delayed, or that you recovered sooner than you claim.

5. DO carefully consider what type of photos and videos you post or appear in.

DON’T post or post pics and videos that could give the wrong impression about your medical condition.

When you’re recovering, you may have good days and bad. You may walk 100 steps and then be done in for the day, or try something and find out it’s too soon. Just like talking about your recovery process, photos or videos of those brief moments can be used against you to create the impression that your injuries weren’t as serious as you’re claiming.

6. DO keep confidential discussions with your attorney confidential.

DON’T post on social media (or tell anyone) about what you’ve told your bicycle accident attorney or about what your attorney has advised you.

Attorney-client privilege only applies when you intend the conversation to be confidential. Talking about your private consultations with your attorney could put confidentiality at risk.

7. DO wait to see what happens with your case.

DON’T post on social media about how much money you are hoping to receive or what your attorney has advised.

Talking about the damages you’re looking for can hurt you in two ways. First, if those posts are found relevant and admitted at trial, they can make you look greedy to a jury–that can hurt your chances of a fair verdict. You could also reduce the amount the insurance company offers, if they see a post that lets them know they can get away with a lowball settlement offer. Imagine, for example, that the insurance company had valued your claim at $150,000. But, their investigator saw a social media post where you said you would be really happy if you got $100,000. At that point, they’re likely to offer less than $100,000, and it will likely take some effort to get them back to the fair value of your claim–maybe even a trial.

Talk to a Florida Bicycle Accident Attorney Today

If you’ve been injured in a Florida bicycle accident, your next step should be to consult a local bicycle accident lawyer. The social media pitfalls described above cover just one area of possible landmines for your bicycle accident case. The moment you start engaging with the responsible party’s insurance company, you’re at risk of innocent mistakes that could harm your case.

When you hire a bicycle accident lawyer right away, your attorney can advise you on how to avoid mistakes with social media and in many other areas. Your lawyer can also take over interactions with the insurance company, providing a buffer to protect you against efforts to lead you into making statements that might hurt your claim or trying to sell you on a lowball offer before you even know the extent of your injuries.

The personal injury lawyers at Harrell & Harrell have decades of experience helping Florida injury victims secure the compensation they deserve. While our firm gathers evidence, builds a case and fights for you, you can relax and focus on recovering and rebuilding.

To learn more about how we can help, call 904-251-1111 and schedule a free consultation. Or, if you prefer, fill out the contact form on this page.