The internet is a pretty big place, so do you really need to worry about something you post online coming back to haunt you in a personal injury case?

Oh, yes, you most assuredly do. These days, an attorney for the defense would be quite remiss if they didn’t spend at least a little bit of time nosing around online for something that could bolster their case — or weaken yours.

Social media is so intertwined with ordinary life that people don’t even think about how the images or words they post could eventually be used against them. Even if you have your Facebook account set to “private,” you cannot assume that what you post will stay safely hidden. Posts and private messages alike can be shared and will often find their way into an insurance company’s hands — and you may have someone on your list of friends who is actually a spy for the defense.

What’s so problematic about your social media? Consider this:

  1. Geo-tagging and location check-ins can show your travels. That could be interpreted as evidence that you’re functioning better than you claim since you’re obviously able to get out and about.
  2. Your public persona may conflict with your claim. Most people put a brave face on when they’re posting on social media. They naturally want to show others their best self. But that version of you may look healthier and happier than reality — and that’s always a problem when you’re trying to get a jury or judge to understand your condition.
  3. Your posts could be misinterpreted. A photo of you smiling at a family gathering, for example, doesn’t show the agony you were secretly in from your back injury. For all intents and purposes, it makes you look like you were having a good time.

If you’ve been injured in a serious accident, take the time to discuss social media use with your attorney — before it becomes detrimental to your case.