Can Social Media Be Used Against You in a Car Accident Lawsuit in Pennsylvania?

Table of Contents

    Once you post something on the internet, it is there forever and might come back to haunt you if you’re seeking recovery via a car accident lawsuit in Pennsylvania.

    Sometimes, defendants might try to use social media posts as evidence of a victim’s lack of injury. For example, photos and written posts that contradict your claim could hurt it. The defendant might try to use social media posts to show that you have not met the serious injury threshold for auto accident claims or that you are partially liable for your injuries. Because of this, you should make any public social media accounts private and refrain from using social media or posting anything online until your lawsuit is over.

    To get a free case assessment from The Reiff Law Firm’s Philadelphia car accident lawyers, call (215) 709-6940 now.

    Can Social Media Be Used Against You in Your Pennsylvania Car Accident Case?

    Although some people naturally gravitate toward sharing their lives online with friends and family, doing so while engaging in litigation is not wise. For example, if you make a post on one of your social media accounts that contradicts some parts of your car accident claim, you could jeopardize your case.

    To be admissible in court, evidence must be relevant and verifiable and cannot be hearsay. Hearsay is any statement made outside of court presented to prove certain matters. This might come into play when either side presents social media posts as evidence.

    For example, suppose you sustained a back injury in a car accident. Then, suppose the defendant located social media posts from a friend of yours mentioning that you recently helped them move to their new home. If the defendant tries to introduce that post as evidence of your lack of injury, our lawyers could argue that it is hearsay and does not disprove your claim.

    However, if you make certain posts on your own social media accounts, and the defendant finds those posts and they are relevant to the case, they could introduce the posts as evidence. For example, if, after sustaining that back injury, you ran a race and posted pictures from it online, the defendant might use those posts as evidence that your injuries are not so serious.

    Should You Use Social Media After a Car Accident in Pennsylvania?

    Generally speaking, staying off social media following an accident is best if you require compensatory damages. Remember, Pennsylvania is a choice no-fault state for auto accidents, meaning that your recovery could hinge on whether or not your injuries are severe enough.

    When you use social media regularly, post personal information about yourself online, and file a lawsuit, you open yourself up to scrutiny. If your social media accounts are public, make them private. Do not post any information about the accident or your injuries. This includes videos, photos, or written accounts.

    While some victims might think that documenting their physical recoveries online might help their claims, you should not discuss the matter online or in person with anyone other than our Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers. Social media posts often lack crucial context.

    Suppose you requested non-economic damages in your complaint to recover compensation for your pain and suffering. If you make a post joking about your injuries, that could come off as though you haven’t experienced pain and suffering because of the accident. Furthermore, the defendant might use photos of you smiling and having fun online in the days, weeks, and months following an accident as evidence that you have not experienced emotional difficulties due to the crash.

    While sharing their lives online is the norm for many, it’s best to refrain from telling the world the details about your injuries. If you make statements online that contradict statements made in your claim, the defendant could use such evidence to evade full liability for your injuries.

    Reasons to Stay Off of Social Media During Your Car Accident Case in Pennsylvania

    In Pennsylvania, car accident victims with limited tort insurance can claim non-economic damages online if their injuries are severe enough. Social media posts contradicting your claim based on serious injury could bar you from recovering certain damages.

    Serious Injury Threshold

    Auto accident injuries that allow victims with limited tort coverage to sue for all damages include those that cause death, serious impairment of a body function, or permanent and serious disfigurement. You must present medical evidence of your injuries when you file your lawsuit. If, after claiming serious injury, you post pictures online showing you engaging in activity that should not be possible with your injuries, the defendant in your case might use those pictures as evidence that you are ineligible to recover non-economic damages.

    Comparative Negligence

    Pennsylvania is a modified comparative negligence state. Under 42 Pa.C.S. § 7102, a plaintiff’s negligence will diminish but bar their recovery, provided they aren’t more at fault for an accident than the defendant. Social media posts of you explaining the details of the accident might be used against you, especially if they contradict statements you gave to law enforcement officers or others throughout your case.

    If the defendant can introduce additional evidence that indicates they are less at fault for an accident, you could be barred from recovery entirely. If social media posts or other evidence show that you share some level of fault for the accident, the court will reduce your damages according to your percentage of negligence. For example, if the defendant was 80% at fault and you were 20% at fault, you would only recover 80% of the damages awarded in your case, which is unacceptable for many car accident victims in Pennsylvania.

    Call Our Lawyers About Your Car Crash in Pennsylvania Today

    The Reiff Law Firm can review your case for free when you call our Allentown, PA car accident lawyers now at (215) 709-6940.

    Our Offices

    1500 John F. Kennedy Blvd #501
    Philadelphia, PA 19102
    Get Directions

    Get a Free Case Review

    "*" indicates required fields

    This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.