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6 social media tips for auto injury plaintiffs

June 13, 2011 by Steven M. Gursten

Readers of my Auto Lawyers Blog know that social media investigation is a hot topic, and one that I’ve blogged about previously. You can expect the defense attorney or insurance adjuster to do at least a cursory investigation of Facebook and other social media in any serious auto accident injury case. Today’s guest blog has some additional good tips for accident victims to consider:

Are you involved in an auto injury court case? If so, now’s not the best time for social media. Facebook, Twitter, and other social media channels are playing a bigger and bigger role in the courtroom and, unfortunately, can be used against you in some cases by an accident attorney.

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to decrease the likelihood that your social media presence will be used against you. One of the most effective things you can do is temporarily disable your social media accounts. But if you’re not quite ready to do that, take a look at these options, which are a bit less extreme:

1. Check your privacy settings – Facebook is constantly changing its privacy settings to protect its users, but sometimes this can backfire. Every time there’s an update, your privacy settings change back to the default. Check your settings and ensure that only your friends can see your profile – instead of everyone in your network. If you wish, you can also change your settings to ensure you’re not “searchable.” This keeps nosy lawyers out of your personal business.

2. Keep an eye on your photos – If your settings allow your friends to tag photos of you, be sure to monitor these carefully. If you’re seeking pain and suffering compensation then make sure you’re not posting or tagged in any photos in which you’re smiling, having fun or enjoying yourself. Consider opting into Facebook emails, so you’ll get a notification every time you’re tagged.

3. Don’t be careless in updates – Watch yourself when posting an update on Facebook, Twitter, or your blog. Even a smiley face or series of exclamation points can be taken the wrong way in your accident injury case.

4. Look over ALL your online profiles – Although Facebook and Twitter are the most well known, there are many other sites that could be used as evidence. Do you have photos posted on Flickr or a Picasa web album? How about YouTube or your personal blog?

5. Ask yourself: “Who will see this”? – Before you post a status update, photo or blog post, ask yourself the simple question of who will see the content? If there’s even a remote possibility that it could be used against you, it’s a good idea to keep it to yourself.

6. Google yourself – Even after you’ve taken all of the above precautions, take some time to search your name. Do an image and web search for your name (in quotes) to see what pops up. If you find anything, do your best to get it removed right away.

Even if you’re a self-proclaimed “social media addict,” considering even a few of these above steps can save you embarrassment and increase the likelihood that the court rules in your favor in your auto accident case.

Related information to protect yourself:

What is the effect of social media use by car accident victims?

Auto accident lawyer warning: Watch what you post on the Internet

Michigan car accident legal help center

Michigan Auto Law is the largest law firm exclusively handling car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Sterling Heights to better serve you. Call (248) 353-7575 for a free consultation with one of our auto accident lawyers.

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