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

In this day and age, social media sites are everywhere. Twitter/X, TikTok, Facebook, Snapchat, and other social media outlets have millions of people putting millions of posts on their platforms every day. With so much information present in these sites and apps, it should not be surprising that attorneys are examining social media to try and get an edge over their opponents in court. This can be concerning for individuals in the middle of a legal battle when they are wondering whether their social media history is going to come back and haunt them.

The answer is that social media can, and likely will, be used to try and hamper your car accident case. If opposing counsel thinks there is something on social media that can improve their chances of success, it can be brought up in court. However, we can also use social media in the same way to try to improve your claim.

Our Arkansas car accident attorneys are here to help you with your claim when you contact us at (479) 316-0438.

Can Social Media Evidence Be Admitted to Court in an Arkansas Car Crash Case?

It is very possible that things on social media can make their way into a car accident trial. There is a good chance that social media will be employed as evidence by both sides of a case. In law, the general rule is that anything that has any tendency at all to prove something more or less likely to be true can be admitted as evidence under Arkansas Rule of Evidence 401. However, there are some limitations to that general rule. First, evidence that is likely to unfairly prejudice a jury cannot be shown at trial per Rule 403. For example, if the defense wants to show evidence in a car accident lawsuit on social media that the plaintiff is a recovering alcoholic, that may not be allowed to be shown because it is not particularly relevant and may make the jury think of the plaintiff differently per Rule 404, which prevents the admission of “character” evidence.

Second, “hearsay” is not allowed under Rule 802. As defined in Rule 801, hearsay is any statement made out of court offered as evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted. This means that if, say, a family member makes a post saying that you “messed up” and caused an accident, that statement cannot be entered specifically to prove that the plaintiff “messed up” and caused the accident. However, there are exceptions that carve your own statements out of the definition of hearsay and allow them to be used against you, which might allow any posts you make to be introduced as evidence.

Pictures are not statements, so they do not underdo this same analysis. Photos and videos would be admissible as long as they are relevant, e.g., if they show you healed and dancing at a club a week after your crash that supposedly disabled you.

How Social Media Can Be Used Against You in Arkansas Car Collision Claims

Defense attorneys can employ social media evidence in a number of different ways in an Arkansas car accident case. Below are some of the things you need to look out for during your case.

Perhaps the most common reason social media is used against plaintiffs is to contradict something they say directly. For example, suppose a plaintiff is alleging that their injuries from a car crash are extremely serious. They cannot do everyday activities they once enjoyed and are in a lot of pain. If the defense finds a social media post from a week after the car crash where the defendant says they are “feeling great” and are going to run in a marathon, that can seriously put into doubt a plaintiff’s assertions.

Posts made by people other than you can also potentially hurt your case. For example, if a friend has a post of you out partying when you allege that you were “bedridden” following a car accident, that could be used to hurt your claims.

Tips to Avoid Social Media Being Used Against You in an Arkansas Car Accident Lawsuit

Since there are lots of opportunities for social media to be used against you in court, it is a good idea to know some tips and tricks to help make your case rock-solid so that social media cannot be used to hurt it. Following the guidelines below can help our Arkansas car accident lawyers represent you more effectively in court.

Avoid Posting About Your Case

The most important thing you can do to guard against social media being used against you is to avoid posting about your legal battle in any way whatsoever. Do not talk about injuries, your plans to sue, or trial proceedings. Posting such things often comes back around to hurting plaintiffs in their claims.

Let Friends Know Your Situation

Posts made by friends, family, and acquaintances can also hurt your case. Accordingly, make sure that those parties know what is going on so that they do not post anything that could be construed as harmful to your claim. At the same time, do not give them details about your pending case.

Manage Your Privacy Settings

Another important step to take is to make sure that your privacy settings are at an appropriate level. If opposing counsel can find information about you publicly, then they can simply obtain it. If it is private, they may have to submit a discovery request to us to try and get it, at which point we can try to deny that request and state a reason why the request is being denied.

That being said, not posting compromising things in the first place is always the better practice, as opposing counsel can always get this information from other sources like friends or social media sites that are willing to provide information to third parties.

Search Yourself Online

Another important thing to do is search yourself online. Many people end up being quite surprised by what can be found in an ordinary Google search. If there is anything potentially compromising your claim, our lawyers need to be aware of it so that we can deal with it.

Discuss Your Claim with Our Arkansas Car Accident Attorneys Now

Let our Bella Vista, AR car accident attorneys look at your claim when you call our offices at (479) 316-0438.