How can social media impact your Virginia car accident case?

Two people sitting en beach chairs under palm treets

Look, we get it. Social media is fun. We all use it. But if you’ve been involved in a Virginia car accident, you need to be aware that posting to social media can have a tangible impact on your case.

James, are you saying that I’m being spied on?

While trying to not be overly dramatic, you should assume that if you’ve got a Virginia car accident case, the insurance companies are reviewing your social media.  This is especially true if you are claiming significant and/or permanent injury due to your crash.  

Whether your making a claim against the other driver’s insurance, or your own, insurance companies do not like paying out money. And they will invest the time and resources necessary to defend a claim, if possible.  One low-cost way to defend is to review the social media posts that you’ve made.  Afterall, most of your social media can be found by a simple Google search.

But I’m not posting anything about my accident?

Maybe you haven’t posted anything about your accident. Maybe you’ve posted about your recent vacation, sporting event, time out on the town, or whatever we all post about.  But remember, if you’re claiming that you were injured, the insurance company will point to “all the fun that you’re having” to show that you really weren’t badly injured.

If tried to a jury, they will use your social media (even ones that don’t talk about your accident) if at all possible. They will try to convince a jury that you should have laid in bed, heavily medicated.  And the fact that you weren’t shows that you are lying.

So, should I delete all my social media posts? 

No. In fact, Virginia requires that a potential litigant preserve any and all evidence that may be relevant to a case.  Click here to read more about your obligations under Virginia law.

If you are found to have “spoiled” evidence, such as social media, the Court may impose various remedies against you. This can include informing the jury that they can infer that the evidence you deleted would have been bad for your case. They can also impose monetary sanctions against you (and your lawyer, if your lawyer instructed you to delete the evidence.) 

So, do not delete social media posts, even if they will be bad for your case.  Trying to hide or destroy evidence is the worse thing you can do. 

What should I do?

First, you should tell your attorney about any posts that you made since your accident.  Especially if you believe your posts are harmful for your case.  While attorneys might be able to work around “bad facts,” of cases, they can do little if they are not made aware of those facts. 

Second, you should take steps to preserve your posts.  That way no one can claim that you destroyed evidence or “allowed it to be destroyed.” 

Third, you are permitted to change your social media settings from “public” to “private.” However, when doing so, again you must make sure that you do not accidentally delete the posts.  Indeed, you should take efforts to preserve them.

Lastly, you should refrain from using social media while your case is pending.  Look, I know this is tough. But ultimately what you do is your choice. If you decided to continue with social media, just take heed that you should expect any and everything you post may be used against you.  

Still have questions?

Make sure to check out our Personal Injury & Criminal Defense Practice Pages where we’ve answered many other questions you likely have.  Abrenio Law is a Personal Injury & Criminal Defense Law Firm representing individuals in Northern Virginia and throughout the Commonwealth. You can learn more about Abrenio Law by visiting our About Us page. You can also read about some of our Prior Results, and Read Our Reviews.  Make sure to contact us at Ph. 703-570-4180 for your Free Consultation.