How Social Media Can Affect Your Personal Injury Claim

personal injury social media

Social media is an integral part of many of our daily lives. We use it to connect with friends and family, reflect on the good times, and even share job updates and network with others. But if you’re in an accident and entitled to compensation, how you use social media can impact your personal injury claim.

You’ve probably seen stories online of people being convicted after posting stolen property on social media marketplaces or even posing with their ill-gotten gains. You may have even heard about people who have lost job opportunities because a prospective employer has seen one-too-many drunken party pics or is worried that your use of “colorful” language doesn’t mesh with their brand values.

It’s easy to assume something like that will never happen to you. After all, what harm can posting an innocent update about your accident do? Unfortunately, it can have significant consequences.

This blog explains how social media affects personal injury claims and how to protect yourself and secure the compensation you deserve.

Personal Injury Claims and Social Media: The Basics

A personal injury claim arises when you are injured because of someone else’s negligence. As the injured party, you can claim compensation from the person or party responsible. You’ll usually claim from their insurance, which is designed to protect them financially when they are liable for an accident, just as you purchase insurance for your car, home, and health so that you don’t have to pay out of your own pocket.

But to successfully claim compensation, you need evidence showing the other party is at fault. Evidence can take many forms, from medical records and eyewitness testimony to car accident crash reports and CCTV footage. Because social media has become an increasingly prevalent part of our lives, insurance companies will often scour profiles to find evidence that contradicts your statements and reduce their client’s liability and, therefore, the amount of money they will have to pay you in a settlement.

Social Media and Personal Injury Claims: Why We Do It

It’s no surprise that people turn to social media after an accident. Here are some of the top reasons why.

To Update Friends and Family

Social media is a great way to let loved ones know that you’ve been in an accident and that you’re okay and doing well. For example, if you’re in a car accident, you might post a photo of yourself in the hospital, telling others that you’re receiving medical care. If you have a big family or large network, sending individual updates can be tedious, especially when you’re injured and in pain. Sometimes, providing a blanket statement via social media can be the more appealing option.

To Garner Sympathy

Some people use social media during a personal injury claim to get support from their friends and followers. For example, someone with chronic pain after an accident might post about their struggles, hoping to receive well wishes or messages from others who have had a similar experience.

To Document the Accident

You may be tempted to post photos and videos on social media to document what happened. Documenting your accident is important, and posting that you’ve been in an accident can help provide proof of when it happened, but it’s important to remember that there are other ways of documenting your accident — ways that can’t be used against you.

To Seek Advice

Social media is so much more than keeping in touch with the people you know. Old friends, acquaintances, and even total strangers can pitch in with advice and recommendations. You might use social media to tell people you’ve been in an accident and learn about other people’s experiences filing a claim or dealing with insurance companies. You might even ask for recommendations for a good personal injury lawyer.

You may have good intentions for using social media during your personal injury claim, but it’s important to be mindful of the potential consequences.

How Social Media Can Hurt Your Personal Injury Claim

You might intend to use social media to provide a record in a way that’s favorable to you. Once you’ve pressed publish, it never goes away — but the same applies to the words you use and the pictures you post. You can be sure that the insurance company or defense attorney of the person responsible for your accident will be looking at how they can twist what you say to benefit them.

There are several ways in which social media undermine your personal injury claim. Many of these involve contradicting your statements or disputing that your injuries are as bad as you claim — even if that’s not the case.

Contradicting Your Claim

If you post on social media about your injury or accident and your posts contradict the claims you’re making in your case, it can be used against you, such as if you claim that you can’t lift heavy objects because of your injury but you then post a photo of yourself lifting weights at the gym.

It could even be as innocuous as saying you can’t drive because of your injuries and later posting an update that you’re stuck in a traffic jam. While you don’t explicitly say you were driving, you don’t say you’re not, either, and an insurance company may try to argue that you were driving, even if you were sitting in the passenger seat.

Physical Activity

Photos or videos of you engaging in physical activity can be used to argue that you’re not as injured as you claim. You might even be participating in a leisurely exercise such as gardening. But it could be used against you, especially if you want to claim compensation for loss of enjoyment because you can’t enjoy certain hobbies.


Photos or posts showing you engaging in social activities can indicate that your injuries aren’t severe. For example, you might claim damages for emotional distress or because you have depression as a result of your accident, and it’s impacting your relationships with others. Still, you also upload a picture of yourself at a party or social gathering to Facebook or Instagram. Common sense tells us that you’ll feel better on some days than others, and we all know that socializing is vital for mental health, but the other side will be looking for any opportunity to dispute your claim.


Photos or posts that misrepresent the extent of your injury or the circumstances of the accident can be used to challenge your claim. For example, if you’re in a car accident and claim the other driver caused it, but they post a photo of you on your cell phone, they might argue you were texting at the time of the accident, even if you were simply calling law enforcement. Under Texas’s modified comparative negligence rule, you will receive less compensation if you are found partially responsible for your accident. If you’re majorly liable, you won’t be able to claim at all, and the other driver might come after you for compensation.

You can’t control what others are doing on social media or whether they paint a different picture of what happened, but you can still gather other evidence to support your case. 

With the above example, a personal injury lawyer in Texas may be able to verify the photo’s authenticity and find out when it was taken. If the timestamp matches up with the time you called 911 — and there isn’t any evidence you were on your phone during the crash, such as text messages — you stand a much better chance of recovering compensation.

How to Protect Your Personal Injury Claim on Social Media

Now we know how social media can hurt your personal injury claim, but how can you protect yourself from being accused of misrepresenting yourself online after your accident?

Here are our top tips.

Don’t Post about Your Case

Our top tip is to avoid posting anything about your injury, accident, or personal injury claim on social media. But what if multiple people have asked you what happened because they heard you were in an accident, or you want to inform your friends and family that you’re okay, especially if you live far away?

It can be convenient to address your entire network in a single post across your socials, but be aware of how outsiders may perceive it. You probably won’t want to worry your loved ones by going into the real details of how you feel but posting “I was in an accident, but I’m fine” can be misinterpreted as saying you really are okay. If you then claim significant damages, the insurance company might point to that same social media update to infer that you were “fine” then, so your injuries can’t have been that bad.

If you want to update your loved ones, do so with a private message. It may be more time-consuming, but it can help avoid the other party from misinterpreting public conversations.

Adjust Your Privacy Settings

You might not realize just how much information a total stranger can access by visiting your social media profile. If your Facebook privacy settings are set to “public”, anyone who finds your profile can see what you’ve uploaded. By navigating to your social media privacy settings, you can change this so that friends or only you can see your updates, media, and personal information.

You can choose to make your profile private on other social networks, such as Twitter and Instagram. This way, people must request to follow you before they can see your posts.

You can also limit who sees your posts on Facebook by adding custom settings. You may want to do this so that only close family members who know about your accident can see your updates. Anyone not on this list — even if you’re still friends with them — won’t be able to see what you post.

Be Careful about What You Post

Even if you post nothing about your personal injury claim on social media, it’s essential to be mindful of what else you share. As we’ve covered, innocent photos or updates can be taken out of context. You might find a picture of you from last year at a party with friends, so you decide to share a “throwback” post. But put yourself in the shoes of the insurance company and think about how it could be used against you — especially if you’ve never shared the photo online before.

If you’re unsure whether a post could damage your personal injury case, it’s best to err on the side of caution and not post it at all. You’ll have plenty of time to catch up once your claim is resolved and you’ve secured compensation for your injuries.

Ask Friends and Family to Watch What They Post

Changing your privacy settings and watching what you post won’t do much good if others are discussing your accident or personal injury claim case on social media. A friend may be well-intentioned about posting an update on your behalf or sharing a photo to lift your mood, but they could do more harm than good.

Remember that they may have public privacy settings, so while an insurance adjuster might not be able to see what you post, they may be able to see who you are friends with and check out their profiles. If you limit who can see your posts to only trusted friends and family, ask them not to post anything about your accident, claim, or anything that could be misconstrued. This should include avoiding tagging you in photographs they post.

Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer

If you’re unsure about what to post or whether a post could harm your case, it’s wise to consult a personal injury attorney. Our McAllen and San Antonio personal injury lawyers can guide you on what’s safe to share and what can be damaging to your case.

You might be tempted to share your side of the story on social media, especially if you think the party responsible for your accident will do the same thing. But staying silent doesn’t put you at a disadvantage — if anything, it opens up an opportunity for the other party to slip up and contradict their own statements and the evidence. Our dedicated attorneys have experience filing car accident claims, truck accident claims, slip and fall claims, and more, so we can focus on what’s important — gathering proof that you were injured in an accident caused by someone else.

If you’re in an accident and wondering if you have a claim, our personal injury lawyers in McAllen and San Antonio can help you get the compensation you deserve. For a free no-obligation consultation to find out if you have a case and receive guidance on using social media without damaging your personal injury claim, contact the Patino Law Firm today. Call 855-LAW-NINJA, fill in our confidential contact form, or pop into one of our offices in McAllen or San Antonio.

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