When personal injury attorneys represent Georgia car accident victims, they may urge them to be very careful about what they post on social media or stop posting altogether. This is because insurance companies and attorneys who represent defendants in car accident lawsuits often visit websites like Facebook, X or Instagram to look for evidence. When people who claim to be seriously injured post photographs of themselves playing sports or engaging in vigorous activities, it can make seeking compensation far more difficult.
Sock puppet accounts
Insurance companies try to settle motor vehicle accident claims for as little as possible, and changing the privacy settings of social media accounts may not be enough to prevent them from finding evidence that could help them to achieve this goal. This is because insurance companies, attorneys or investigators may find damaging photographs or videos posted by the friends or family members of car accident victims. They could also send car accident victims friend requests using sock puppet accounts that conceal their identities.
The public domain
During an insurance industry conference held in California in August 2023, an attorney told a story about a married couple who claimed that a car accident had left them with serious back injuries that required spinal surgery. The attorney told attendees that he discovered photographs of the couple frolicking in a back yard swimming pool on an Instagram feed. He also spoke about how metadata can be used to verify when photographs posted online were taken. Attempts to prevent this kind of evidence being used in court are rarely successful because courts have consistently ruled that images posted on social media are in the public domain.
Social media is now an integral part of life for millions of Americans, but posting videos or images on Instagram or Facebook after being involved in a car accident can be a mistake. Insurance companies and attorneys who represent negligent drivers routinely search these platforms looking for evidence of deception, and a civil jury could find a compromising video or photograph far more persuasive than a medical report.