The Impact of Social Media on Personal Injury Claims: Dos and Don’ts

Whether or not you use social media, there is no doubt that it has impacted both personal and business lives across the world. People post staggering amounts of private information on their social media accounts. This can creates many potential dangers, such as identification theft, but it can also play a significant role in personal injury claims. Unfortunately, for many people, by the time they realise the potential damage, it has already been done.

We will now take a look at some of the dos and don’ts of social media when it comes to personal injury claims and posting any information about your case.

The Significance of Social Media in Personal Injury Claims

When considering the use of social media concerning personal injury claims, it is easy to be drawn to the assumption we are talking about borderline/potentially fake claims. This is not always the case. As we will discuss in a moment, even slight anomalies in your social media posts, compared to your evidence in the case, can significantly impact the end result of a seemingly strong case.

If we take a step back for a moment and consider the pros and cons of mentioning your personal injury claim on social media, is there any benefit? All the information you might post on social media should already have been presented as evidence to the defendant. In the best-case scenario, you may simply be reposting this evidence, but is it sensible to talk about a live case?

Imagine if you claim for a particular injury, for example, a back injury compensation claim, but social media showed images of you playing football or any physical sport. These pictures may have been from months or weeks before the incident, but could they potentially muddy the water if they were posted recently?

Put yourself in the shoes of the defendant, their legal team, and the insurance company who might eventually foot the compensation settlement; how does this look?

Dos: Using Social Media Wisely

The use of social media, or non-use of social media, is something that should be discussed with your personal injury solicitor at the first opportunity. If you don’t have a solicitor and decide to take the claim on by yourself, this lack of guidance could prove costly. There are some simple guidelines when using social media in this scenario:-

  • Adjust your privacy settings so that only friends can access your information
  • Even with privacy settings on, try to refrain from discussing the case until it has been resolved (or never)

Even if you were just to use the privacy settings for a short time, this could protect you from any innocent posts that may cast an element of doubt on your case.

Don’ts: Common Mistakes to Avoid

One of the potential dangers for those who suffer long-term severe injuries due to negligence can be boredom and difficulty filling their day. If you are used to using social media regularly, this may help combat the boredom but there are some simple don’ts when it comes to social media use:-

  • Refrain from posting videos or photographs which may be misinterpreted
  • Try not to engage in any conversations about your case, as there may be a danger of contradicting your evidence
  • Do not encourage friends and family to tag or contact the defendant, as this could be used against you
  • Deleting/altering social media posts after initiating your claim could cast a degree of doubt on your evidence

In a perfect world, it would probably be sensible to remove yourself from social media while pursuing not only a personal injury claim but any legal claim.

Admissibility and Impact of Social Media Evidence

There is a general ignorance over the use of social media in legal cases, with many people believing that the information they post is “private”. If your settings allow anyone to look at your account and your posts, this is in the public domain and could be used as evidence. Indeed, even if access to your account was limited to friends/family, if screenshots or information were leaked to 3rd parties, this could be used as evidence as well. Don’t be naïve!

When it comes to legal action, even if the defendant is guilty (wholly or partially), if they can muddy the water and inject a degree of doubt into the proceedings, they will. Even if you have a bona fide claim for compensation, any degree of doubt will, at best, reduce your compensation and, at worst, potentially see your claim dismissed.

There are well-documented cases where personal injury claims have been undermined by something as innocent as a picture on social media. As we discussed above, if you were claiming for a back injury but were shown on social media playing a physical sport, this doesn’t look good. If part of your evidence suggested that you had been confined to bed due to your injuries, but you were photographed outside, and on the move, this would suggest a degree of doubt over the severity of your injuries. Even an innocent situation could be manipulated by the defendant’s legal representatives.

Monitoring and Investigating Social Media Activity

As we touched on above, some people believe that the information they post on a public forum is private when this is not true. Regarding personal injury claims, the role of the defendant’s legal representatives and the insurance company is to monitor and investigate the claimant. This could involve something as severe as hiring a private detective or simply going through the individual’s social media activity.

The legal and ethical considerations of “digging dirt” on people seeking compensation have been discussed at great length. Is it legal or ethical to check a social media account? Legally justified, yes, ethical, that is down to interpretation. When you consider that some personal injury claims could be in the hundreds of thousands or even millions of pounds, big money is at stake. Even if the defendant’s representatives were to cast a little doubt on the validity of your claim or the severity of your injuries, this could have a considerable impact on the strength and standing of your case.

Educating Claimants about Social Media Risks

In summary, while sensible to take advice from your personal injury solicitor, here is some simple guidance:-

  • Try to refrain from using social media while your claim is live
  • If you need to use social media, set the privacy settings to friends/family only
  • Refrain from ever discussing the claim, before or after settlement
  • Do not post photographs or videos which may cast doubt on your claim/injuries
  • Under no circumstances encourage friends/family to tag or contact the defendant

Perhaps the best thing to do would be to put yourself in the defendant’s shoes; how would you defend a claim against you? If you could cast even the merest slither of doubt, would you do it?


While we have discussed posting about your claim, videos and photographs, the greatest danger is naivety. We hear about legal representatives looking through social media activity when defending their clients, but many of us assume, “it will never happen to me”. It could, and unfortunately, many perfectly valid claims have been impacted. Taking yourself off social media for just a few months could probably be the best advice you will ever receive.

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