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Don't let social media posts derail your accident claim

If you were injured in an auto accident in southern Illinois and are making a claim against an at-fault driver, you must be careful not to do anything that could adversely affect your case. This is especially true when it comes to making posts on Facebook, Twitter or other social media sites.

Big brother is peering over your shoulder

In the digital age in which we now live, it must always be assumed that our words, photos and even the most innocuous of status updates can be turned against us in a personal injury case.

Clients frequently remark that their social media posts are set to "private," so there are no worries. But a "private" account has no bearing on a subpoena issued by a judge that will lay bare your posts and photos for the defense's attorneys to twist against you.

A picture is worth a thousand words

Consider the following scenario — you got rear-ended in a collision and have been suffering from back and neck pain from soft tissue injuries on which you have based your personal injury claim. You were deposed and described the pain you suffer as you go about your daily activities.

The defense attorney subpoenaed Facebook for your account. They now are able to introduce as evidence a dozen photos of you at your 8-year-old son's birthday party. You are smiling and in no obvious pain. They even have the shot of you and the birthday boy diving into the foam pit together from the edge.

This is damning evidence that can undo your attorney's carefully constructed claim of the damages you suffered in the accident. Not only does it undermine your case, it can plant a seed in the minds of judges or juries that your word cannot be trusted.

But I don't want to shut down my account

It's understandable that you don't want to close your account simply because you were in an accident. You should be aware that you do have other options. One is simply to refrain from making posts on your account, You can still read and like others' posts, but you are not putting any information out there in cyberspace about your life.

If you feel that you might forget and accidentally make a post that could decimate your case but still don't want to close your account, you can always temporarily deactivate it through the duration of your court case.

Follow the guidance of your attorney

If you have retained counsel to represent you following your auto accident, he or she will likely discuss the importance of refraining from posting on social media. If not, this is a subject that needs to be broached. Ask your personal injury attorney for guidance on how best to manage your accounts after you have been injured in a collision.

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