Social Media Legal Risks in Personal Injury Cases

Social Media Legal Risks in Personal Injury Cases

The Legal Risks of Social Media Posts During Personal Injury Cases

In today’s digital age, social media has become an integral part of our lives. However, when it comes to legal matters such as personal injury cases, the impact of social media posts can be detrimental. Let’s delve into the potential risks and consequences of sharing details about your case on social platforms.

Why You Should Avoid Posting After a Crash

After a crash, the urge to keep your close friends and family in the loop is understandable. It may seem easier to create a quick Facebook post to let everyone know what is going on all at once. The urge to share updates or to seek support on social media may be strong, but it’s crucial to resist this temptation.

Recovery is always different from case to case but let’s take a look at a scenario we see all too often.

Let’s say that as a result of your accident, you struggle with pain every day. Your life has been miserable since the crash and the things that used to bring you joy are becoming harder and harder to do. Then one day a friend calls you up to meet the crew and go bowling. They know you won’t be able to throw a ball, but maybe you could just join them for a few laughs and to hang out. After some convincing, you decide you could use some social time, so you head out.

You spend most of the evening (uncomfortably) on the bench, but eventually, you start to have some fun. Since you’re having a good time, you decide to capture the moment and grab a quick selfie with your friends to post to Instagram. No harm, right? WRONG.

Clearly, you didn’t understand the social media legal risks in personal injury cases. Posting a quick pic may seem harmless in the moment, but these pictures lack context.

If you try to tell a jury that you haven’t been able to go out with friends and have been stuck at home, then the insurance company’s lawyer shows them a picture YOU SHARED of you smiling with your pals at the bowling alley, your claim of a life of pain-filled restrictions just became a lot harder to prove.

Posts can be misconstrued and used against you in court, potentially weakening your case. It’s best to refrain from sharing any details or photos of the crash or your recovery period to prevent compromising your lawsuit.

If you have questions about the progress of your case, don’t ask friends on Facebook! Call your lawyer and they should be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

The Perils of Sharing Case Details on Social Media: Your Privacy is NOT Guaranteed

Even if your social media profiles are private or you are communicating in private messages, this does not guarantee protection. Insurance lawyers can still access and use the information posted, and conversations with family and friends about the case are discoverable.

It’s essential to exercise caution and avoid discussing any aspects of your legal case on social platforms.

“Can My Texts Be Used as Evidence?”

Image depicting several common questions that family and friends may text to a person after they have been injured in an accident. The image is of a cell phone with word bubbles and text.

“I’ve heard that text messages from my phone aren’t safe and that they can be used against me in court. Is that true?”We’re often asked if personal text messages can be used as evidence in court.” -Common question we get asked.

Yes, your personal text messages (even ones sent to your phone) can be used against you in legal proceedings. Text messages, like other forms of digital communication, can be subject to discovery in legal cases. If relevant to the case, your text messages can be requested and reviewed by the opposing legal party. They can also potentially be used as evidence in court.

The idea behind this is that text messages can provide insight into your actions, intentions, and state of mind. They may also provide insight into other factors that could be relevant to the case. For example, in personal injury cases, messages where you discuss your injuries, activities, or how the accident occurred. These could all impact the claims about the extent of your injuries or your account of the event.

It’s important to be mindful of the potential legal implications of your communications when involved in or anticipating legal action.

The Risk of Disclosing Treatment Progress

Sharing updates about treatment progress on social media can carry substantial risks. Information can be taken out of context and used against you. To safeguard your privacy and maintain the integrity of your case, it’s imperative to refrain from discussing treatment progress or any medical details related to your lawsuit on social media.

Discoverability of Social Media Conversations

A man with a broken arm sits at a computer having a private text conversation about how he is feeling.

Conversations about your case on social media are discoverable, regardless of whether they can be remembered. Once a lawsuit is filed, you are subject to the judge’s orders, including producing social media login information.

It’s crucial to consider the content and context of your online interactions. They may be used as evidence.

Not-so Innocent Comments

Imagine you’re scrolling through your social media feed and see a friend’s post asking how you’re doing after your recent accident. You reply, “Doing much better, thanks! Can’t wait to get back on the bike!” It seems innocent enough. It’s just a single comment. A simple update to a friend. However, this single comment could be misconstrued by insurance companies as evidence that you’ve fully recovered, diminishing the perceived impact of your injuries.

The Illusion of Safety in Deletion

Digital art depicting a shadowy figure inspecting social media history to find posts that have been deleted.

While it may seem that deleting a post removes it from scrutiny, this is not the case. Timing of deletion and the ability to retrieve deleted content can significantly impact a lawsuit.

Insurance companies can retrieve deleted posts, and the timing of deletions, especially after a discovery request, can potentially reflect negatively on your case.

Admissibility of Posts and Messages in Court

Social media posts must be relevant to be admissible in court. That said, even posts or mentions by others may become discoverable if you had control over the information.

In other words, anything you post, share, or are tagged in could potentially be scrutinized under the law. Specifically, if it pertains to your case or character. Even check-ins, story features, posts, tags, and private messages can all be used as evidence to support or contradict your claims.

There’s a broad reach and impact to your digital footprint – especially during legal proceedings.  It’s important to understand the potential impact of these digital footprints on your case.


“Don’t Post About Your Case on Social Media. Period.”

A quick quote from our very own Pete Leehey may be the best way to roll into the conclusion.


Conclusion

Call to action Image- A motorcycle riding down a highway with text encouraging the viewer to call The Biker Lawyers for a free consultationThe risks associated with sharing details about your legal case on social media are substantial. It’s crucial to exercise extreme caution and refrain from posting any information on social media. Don’t engage in conversations about your lawsuit on social platforms. Now you understand the potential consequences of social media posting. By taking proactive measures you can protect your case integrity. Your actions are the first step to safeguarding your legal rights.

If you’ve been injured in a crash, contact The Biker Lawyers and get the justice and compensation you deserve. Complete the form below to request a FREE case evaluation.

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Insurance Nightmares: a True Story of Crash Recovery

Insurance Nightmares: a True Story of Crash Recovery

Jo Goos’ Emotional Journey After a Crash

Who ya gonna call when you need backup? For Jo Goos, the answer was clear: The Biker Lawyers. In a heartfelt recount of her accident and the subsequent insurance nightmare, Jo sheds light on the physical and psychological impacts of a crash and the importance of having the right legal team by your side.

The Unfortunate Day in Cedar Rapids

On an icy day in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Jo Goos faced every driver’s worst fear: a car crash. “It was two and a half years ago… an oncoming truck pulled out in front of me,” Jo recalls. This wasn’t just about a bad driver; it was a life-changing event that would lead Jo down a path of recovery, both physically and emotionally.

Physical and Psychological Impacts of a Crash

Post-accident, Jo’s life took a turn. She needed chiropractic care and physical therapy, emphasizing, “More changes at about a 40 mph impact than you would think.” But beyond the physical pain, the emotional scars ran deep. The accident left her nervous, altering her driving habits and instilling a fear of car accidents and what can happen with the unpredictability of other drivers on the road.

The Insurance Nightmare: A Battle with Bad Drivers and Their Companies

Image of a pile of money on a table in front of a greedy insurance agent with a nametag that reads "Big Insurance"

To be clear, Big Insurance only cares about one thing: keeping their money.

Dealing with insurance companies after an accident can be a harrowing experience.

Jo’s journey was no different. “I went through a good year of trying to get things solved with his insurance company… nobody was responding,” she shares. She struggled with getting the company to make any progress, with representatives breaking promises, and failing to return her calls.

An insurance agent prepares to hang up the phone on a client.

This insurance nightmare is a common tale many can relate to, emphasizing the importance of knowing who to call when you need help getting results.

When Bikers Fight Back: The Biker Lawyers to the Rescue

Image of the Founder of The Biker Lawyers, Pete Leehey

Enter Pete Leehey and his team at The Biker Lawyers. Known as Iowa’s best motorcycle lawyers, they were Jo’s beacon of hope.

“I called Pete and I just asked him to get involved,” Jo says. Their expertise as motorcycle accident lawyers proved invaluable, guiding Jo through the legal maze and ensuring she received a fair settlement.

Pete Leehey’s Take on Insurance Companies

Pete Leehey, a prominent figure in the Midwest biking community and Founder of The Biker Lawyers, sheds light on the challenges of dealing with insurance companies. “Some insurance companies will respond and do so in a reasonable fashion even if you haven’t filed a lawsuit yet,” Pete says. “But ultimately, you get insurance companies’ attention by suing them.” His words underscore the lengths to which victims sometimes have to go to ensure justice and fair compensation.

A Word of Advice from Jo

For those facing similar challenges, Jo has a clear message: “I would start with biker lawyers immediately and not even have the headache and run around of trying to settle it yourself.” Whether it’s a personal injury or dealing with the aftermath of a car crash, having the right lawyer can make all the difference.

Watch Jo Goos’ Full Interview: Her Story, Firsthand

In Conclusion

Accidents are unpredictable, and their aftermath can be a daunting journey. But with the right support, like that from Pete Leehey and The Biker Lawyers, victims can find their path to recovery and justice. Remember, when in a crash and facing an insurance nightmare, knowing who to call for backup is always a winning strategy.

Injured? Ride with Us.

Can you Settle Without a Personal Injury Attorney (No BS Answer)

Can you Settle Without a Personal Injury Attorney (No BS Answer)

Can you Settle Without a Personal Injury Attorney (No BS Answer)

Posted on February 28, 2022 at 8:00 AM by The Biker Lawyers

Should I settle my personal injury case without a lawyer?

Car accidents, truck accidents, and motorcycle accidents can be life-changing events. An accident can bring chaos, confusion, and frustration to every part of your life. You may suffer pain and injury. You may need time off from work. You may incur expensive medical bills. Your car may be severely damaged or totaled. Your loved ones may have suffered injuries as well.

And then there is the insurance company – telling you that you don’t need a lawyer, that they will treat you fairly, and that the insurance adjuster will look out for your best interests.

It happens to people every day. They get injured in an accident, it’s not their fault, and the other person’s insurance company wants to settle the claim… fast, “for your convenience.”

Of course, you want compensation for your injuries. Sure, you want to move on with your life, but do you know what a fair settlement offer would be? Does that offer take into consideration your ongoing pain and suffering, which may be significant? The problem that most don’t recognize until it’s too late is that settling your case too quickly following an accident can be a big financial mistake. It’s important for you to understand the process of settling with an insurance company, and, equally as important that you realize there are alternatives to settling a personal injury claim by yourself.

Can you, and do you really want to handle your personal injury claim on your own?

Most people think they could, but don’t want to. Unfortunately, they often find themselves settling their case on their own simply because they don’t know where to start or do not have time, so they accept a settlement offer. What they fail to see is that the likely reason that the insurance adjuster is contacting you is that he or she knows that you are not represented by an expert and does not wish to even try putting together a case against yours. They know that you don’t know what you don’t know, so they often try to low-ball you (with a number that seems just high enough to you that you’ll jump at the chance to get some cash).

But seriously, should you settle your case without a lawyer?

Ultimately, that’s up to you, but you need to consider all the pros and cons.

The first question to ask yourself is whether you have enough information to make an informed decision about settling your claim. What do you need to know before deciding?

Here are a few important things to consider before trying to settle on your own.

Time

You need to make sure you understand the deadlines for filing a personal injury lawsuit in Iowa. Missing those deadlines could mean losing the opportunity to get fully compensated for your injuries. You might say that a personal injury lawsuit starts the moment you feel you’ve been damaged in some way. The clock begins ticking on the statute of limitations deadline. In Iowa, most personal injury claims must be initiated within two years of the incident.

Time is critical to your personal injury claim. Waiting to get legal help will make it difficult to gather evidence and locate witnesses who can help prove your claim. Also, medical records may be lost or destroyed if they’re not gathered immediately after an accident or injury.

Evidence

What kind of evidence do you have or can be obtained that proves the defendant was negligent? Evidence goes beyond the scene of the accident. When fully investigating your case, you’ll need to consider documentation, photographic evidence, medical records, and much more. Speaking of medical records…

Medical bills and other records

The costs of medical bills can add up quickly after an injury occurs. A serious injury can require surgeries and treatments that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars over months or years.

Make sure you know the total amount of your medical bills so far and the cost of any care you will need going forward. This should include things like physical therapy, mental therapy, or medical devices that may be required to aide with any permanent physical restrictions that come as a result of your injury.

In terms of evidence, it’s important to do your best to make sure that your doctors (or other healthcare professionals) link all your injuries to the accident very clearly in their medical records.

Health insurance reimbursement

You may have had great coverage from your insurance provider, but make sure you know if your health insurance is expecting (or asking) to be paid back out of a settlement, and if so, how much. Keep in mind, this also might include any short-term or long-term disability plans you have.

Short-term & long-term effects

If an accident has impacted your quality of life now or in the foreseeable future, this should be considered in a settlement discussion. Will you have permanent physical or mental pain? Will you have permanent physical restrictions? How much time have you had to miss from work because of the accident? What is the cost of that lost time in terms of lost wages so far? How will this impact your ability to create income?

“What else do I need to know?”

Hiring an Attorney doesn’t always mean going to trial

Many people are afraid to hire an attorney because they think it means going to court. But many personal injury cases can be resolved without a trial or lawsuit. In fact, most personal injury cases settle outside of court.

Even if your case does go to trial, that’s okay too. If you have hired The Biker Lawyers, you’ve got the best possible representation on your side, so you’ll be able to meet the challenges and answer any questions that come up along the way.

Here’s What We Recommend (The Dos and Don’ts of Personal Injury Settlements)

After an accident, your first step should be to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible, even before you speak with the insurance company or accept a settlement offer from them.

A personal injury attorney experienced in motorcycle accidents, car accidents, and truck accidents can help determine who was at fault for the accident and whether there are legal grounds for filing a personal injury claim to receive compensation for your losses.

  • Don’t talk to the insurance adjuster before speaking with an attorney.

  • Don’t sign anything without having a lawyer review it first. It could be a release of all claims or a request for your medical records.

  • Don’t let the insurance company trick you into believing that if you don’t settle now, the money will go away. In Iowa, most cases must be filed within two years of the injury. You have time to investigate your case and evaluate its value before making a decision about whether to settle or file a lawsuit.

  • Don’t be tricked into believing that your case is straightforward — perhaps you were rear-ended by another driver and suffered whiplash — you might think you can handle negotiating with the insurance company on your own. You might even be tempted to skip reporting the accident altogether, figuring it’s not worth the hassle and that any injuries will heal in time. That’s rarely a good idea. You probably don’t have enough knowledge to know all the ways your life has been affected by the accident. Things like lost wages and pain and suffering are fairly obvious, but there may be more subtle ways in which your life has been impacted.

  • Do hire an attorney with experience handling personal injury claims in Iowa courts, not just someone who practices other areas of law like real estate or criminal defense.

  • Do ask if the lawyer’s firm has experience dealing with personal injury cases where the defendant (the person who caused the accident) is not insured.

  • Do ask what percentage of their practice is devoted to personal injury claims, and how many jury trials they have handled involving personal injuries over the past five years.

What should I know if I am sure I can settle on my own?

If you are still not convinced you should at least speak to an attorney for a free case evaluation and have decided you are going to settle your claim without a lawyer, here are some things you should know:

  1. You will probably get less money than you would with an attorney. It’s hard to give an exact percentage, but at least half of all claims end up settling for more money if they are handled by an attorney than if they are settled by the injured person themselves. This is because attorneys understand the legal process better than injured people do, they understand the value of claims better than injured people do, and they know how to negotiate with adjusters in order to get top dollar for their client’s cases.
  2. Don’t be afraid to hire an attorney later on in your case if it becomes clear that you need one. Many people start their own cases and then realize that they need help from an experienced attorney who knows what he or she is doing. In these situations, there is no shame in speaking to and hiring an attorney later.

Final Thoughts

Insurance companies do not represent your best interests in negotiations. They are on the other side of your claim and have one goal in mind — to pay you as little as they can get away with.

You might not realize this because the claims adjuster assigned to your case may seem friendly and even sympathetic. Even though they may ask questions and make the process seem straightforward, they are likely employing tactics designed to minimize the amount of money they pay you. While an insurance company may offer a settlement quickly after an accident to get the claim resolved more quickly and cheaply, it’s important not to accept any offers before having a chance to review all your damages.

The truth is that the insurance company is working hard behind the scenes to minimize what they end up paying you. This will likely include hiring investigators to gather evidence against you, researching how much similar injury claims have settled for in Iowa, and taking advantage of any information that may make you look bad when presented to a jury.

It is rare that someone will be fully compensated for a personal injury without hiring a lawyer. Attorneys understand the law and know how to prove liability, damages and negotiate settlements. An experienced personal injury attorney knows how much your claim is worth and can help you reach a fair settlement with the insurance company. If the insurance company won’t make a fair offer, you may need to sue and let a jury decide what your case is worth.

If you have been injured by someone else, call The Biker Lawyers today at (877) 209-9452 or fill out our easy online contact form to learn how we can help you get what you deserve.

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Motorcycle Accident Liability

Motorcycle Accident Liability

Motorcycle Accident Liability

Posted on November 25, 2021 at 8:00 AM by The Biker Lawyers

Who is responsible for the damages in a motorcycle accident?

Liability will depend on the circumstances, but typically if the other driver was responsible, they will be liable for the damages. Basically, if a state uses a fault (tort) system, the driver responsible for causing the accident covers the victim’s damages (or at least, their insurance company does).

Keep in mind that motorcycle accidents can be caused by a number of things such as:

  • Reckless drivers
  • Inattentive riders
  • Dangerous road conditions
  • Weather conditions (motorcycle riders in Iowa know all about this one)
  • Poor traffic conditions
  • Faulty bike parts

… and much more.

Speaking of which, did you know that even in a single-vehicle motorcycle accident, others may be held liable? For example, the motorcycle manufacturer may be held liable for defects in the machine or the local or state government may be liable for hazardous road conditions. Again, every case is unique so it’s important to understand all of the facts of a case for the most favorable outcome.

Determining Fault in Motorcycle Accident Settlements

Determining fault in motorcycle accident settlements is very important because it usually plays an important role when figuring out settlement amounts. The victim has to prove that the other party caused the injuries (known as the burden of proof). After all of the evidence is considered, if the victim can prove fault, they are more likely to get a favorable settlement. That said, if the victim cannot prove negligence or liability on the other party, it can be tough to get a large settlement.

Common Personal Injuries from Motorcycle Accidents

Look, we all know riding is dangerous. That’s part of the draw: the thrill of the risk. How big, exactly is that risk, by the books? In 2019 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a report showing that there were 5,014 bikers killed in crashes that year.

Top Five Motorcycle Accident Injuries

Obviously, not all motorcycle wrecks end in death, but the list of common motorcycle accident injuries is nothing to snuff at. We’ve seen a lot of injuries over the years but here are a few to consider from (arguably) most to least severe.

  1. Brain Injuries – Brain injuries vary in severity as those with traumatic brain injuries may experience health problems that last a short time (a few days) or for the rest of their lives. As the leading cause of death in the United States, suffering a brain injury can significantly increase the amount of a motorcycle accident injury settlement, even if it’s not a wrongful death case.
  2. Spinal Cord Injuries – Settlements involving these types of injuries typically result in significant damages as they reduce the victim’s quality of life and can require long-term medical care. Spinal cord injuries sometimes lead to paralysis and other major nerve problems.
  3. Chest Injuries – Chest injuries can also vary greatly in severity from cracked or bruised ribs, to collapsed lungs, or even internal bleeding. The fact that these issues are not always easy to detect right away is another great reason to get to a hospital if involved in a wreck, even if you think nothing is wrong. At the very least, let paramedics check you out.
  4. Leg and Hand Injuries – In a recent article, we explained why and how the right gear can greatly reduce injuries, especially with hands and legs. Part of the reason that motorcyclists are often the most severely injured in accidents is the lack of overall protection. Your legs and feet are the closest part of your body to the ground while on a bike, so it makes sense that these are often the first to smack the pavement or get crushed under your bike during an accident. From broken bones to knee injuries and torn ligaments, healing from leg, feet, and hand injuries is not usually painless or a quick process.
  5. Road Rash – We’re not talking about the classic video game here, road rash is no joke. This can be anything from scrapes and abrasions caused by flesh hitting the pavement, to tearing tissues, muscle, and bone. Recovery from the most severe cases of road rash can include painful, extensive, (not to mention expensive) skin grafts to fix the skin.

Not all damages are physical.

Damages are costs incurred as a result of the accident. These can fall into a variety of categories including physical, psychological, and economic. Economic damages include medical bills, loss of income, other expenses, etc. After an accident, it’s critical that the victim does their best to keep track of bills, receipts, and as detailed a journal as possible that outlines recovery and the various ways the accident has impacted their life. All of this is evidence that can be used to prove damages and maximize the likelihood of getting the compensation you deserve.

We hope this helps but if you have follow-up questions, send ’em our way. Click the image below and we’d be happy to help!

winged logo of The Biker Lawyers, PC. Designed to encourage the viewer to contact the firm for a free consultation

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