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

Social media seems to be everywhere nowadays. People often post on social media profiles without a second thought. After a car accident, your postings might be scrutinized by the opposing party and possibly used against you.

Defendants in car accident lawsuits might search for social media evidence indicating the plaintiff is not as badly injured as they claim. Information from social media is generally admissible in court. People typically do not have a significant expectation of privacy regarding social media, as this content is usually intended to be seen by many others. An opposing party might easily obtain social media information if your profiles are public. Even if you have restrictive privacy settings, the opposing party might obtain social media details from people you know who have access to your social media profiles, or they might demand it during the discovery phase of your trial. Often, this content lacks important context. We might render the evidence useless if we provide that context at your trial.

For a free claims review with our South Carolina car accident attorneys at Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers, call (803) 451-4000.

How Social Media Can Be Used Against You in a South Carolina Car Accident Lawsuit

After a car accident, you might file a lawsuit against the driver you believe is responsible for the crash. Naturally, the defendant will begin building their own case to refute your claims and possibly shift blame back to you. A common strategy nowadays is to comb through the plaintiff’s social media posts in the days and weeks after the accident. Defendants often look for posts and photos you put online that might undermine your arguments and claims.

Your social media posts can be used to shed light on how the accident happened and what your injuries are like. For example, a plaintiff might claim they are badly hurt after a crash. However, they might post online about going on a nature hike, playing sports, or doing other physical activities that an injured person should not be able to do. Defendants will jump on these kinds of details and use them to their advantage. Our Sumter, SC car accident attorneys can help you refute such claims and show how your social media posts are irrelevant or lack important context.

Posts do not need to be directly related to the car accident to be used against you. For example, a plaintiff might post on social media about going to the gym, playing a sport, or doing something else involving physical activity without ever mentioning the accident. The defendant’s legal counsel or even an insurance company might take these social media posts and argue that the plaintiff was not as badly injured as they claimed.

Is Information From Social Media Admissible in Court in a South Carolina Lawsuit?

Generally, social media posts are admissible in court as evidence as long as they meet the rules and standards within the South Carolina Rules of Evidence. Opposing parties often do not even have to ask for your social media information. If your profiles are public, anyone can see them, including the defendant and their lawyers.

Typically, people do not have an expectation of privacy regarding social media. The point of social media is to share information with other people. This is the opposite of an expectation of privacy. This can be confusing, as social media and privacy are hotly debated issues nowadays.

Many social media platforms allow users to restrict who can see their posts, photos, videos, and other content. Even though many social media platforms have privacy settings, courts might not consider your content private. Even if you are not sharing information over social media with the general public, you are sharing it with people who follow your social media profiles.

How Do Opposing Parties Obtain Social Media Content in South Carolina Car Accident Lawsuits?

As discussed before, public social media profiles can be accessed by anyone. Total strangers can log on and search for your profile and save copies of posts, photos, and videos without your knowledge or permission. Many people do not realize their profiles are public.

If you have certain privacy settings activated on your social media profiles, only people who follow you or are on a list of approved friends may view your profile. An insurance company or opposing party in a lawsuit can request social media content from people you know who can access your social media profile.

In a lawsuit, the opposing party can request access to your social media during the discovery phase. During this phase, both sides of the lawsuit are required to exchange relevant information and evidence. Each party may request that specific evidence be turned over, including your social media accounts.

How to Defend Yourself Against Social Media Evidence in a South Carolina Car Accident Lawsuit

One way to combat the defendant’s evidence taken from your social media is to simply explain the evidence in court. A lot of information obtained through social media lacks context. A photo of you in the gym shortly after a car accident only proves you were inside a gym, nothing more. Perhaps you were not working out. Maybe you were doing low-impact exercises as part of a doctor-advised recovery plan. Often, people can provide context in court that refutes arguments made by opposing parties.

If your social media is irrelevant, we can argue that we should not have to hand it over to the opposing party during discovery. This might be a viable argument if you have not posted anything on social media since before the car accident. Only relevant evidence needs to be exchanged during discovery.

Alternatively, if we are sure that your social media is irrelevant to the case and cannot be used against you, we can save time and energy by just handing it over. Let the opposing party waste their own time digging through your profile to learn that there is nothing useful to their case.

Perhaps the best strategy is to avoid using social media after a car accident and while your case is pending.

Contact Our South Carolina Car Accident Lawyers for Legal Assistance

For a free claims review with our Richland County, SC car accident attorneys at Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers, call (803) 451-4000.