In the age of social media, sharing updates about your everyday life has become a new normal for many people. Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok are an integral part of everyday life for millions of people.
While sharing things with strangers on social media platforms may not seem like that big of a deal, using social media could negatively impact your personal injury claim if you were involved in an accident.
Let us discuss the role of social media in personal injury cases, what you can do to minimize its adverse effects on your claim, and why you should avoid talking about accidents on social media.
Are Social Media Posts Admissible in New Jersey Courts?
Under New Jersey Court Rule 4:10-2, social media posts can be used as admissible evidence in court. The rule holds that parties may obtain discovery regarding any matter that is relevant to the claim or defense.
If you have been injured in an automobile crash or any other accident, you may be able to seek compensation by filing an insurance claim. Once you file your claim, the insurance company will investigate your case to determine whether it has grounds to deny or undervalue your claim.
How Your Social Media Posts can be Used Against You in a Personal Injury Case
Under NJ Rev Stat § 2A:15-5.1, New Jersey follows a modified comparative negligence standard, which provides that any damages suffered by a party are diminished by the percentage of that party’s negligence.
Insurance companies often review the claimant’s social media accounts to find evidence that they were partially at fault for their injury or dispute the severity of the victim’s injury. Your social media posts can be used against you when the insurer finds:
- Details that you failed to mention about your accident, injuries, or activities before, during, or after the incident;
- Information on your habits, behaviors, driving abilities, or hobbies that may impact your personal injury case; and
- Photos and videos showing that your injuries are not as serious as you claim them to be (for example, a photo on Instagram shows that you can easily engage in a physically demanding activity).
What Can You Do to Protect Your Personal Injury Claim?
If you have been injured, your first priority is to focus on your recovery and do everything you can to maximize your financial compensation. To protect your personal injury claim when using social media, follow these tips:
- Refrain from posting anything that could be used against you to dispute your claim;
- Avoid talking about the accident or your injury altogether;
- Change your social media settings to private;
- Avoid sharing information on your health condition;
- Avoid publishing posts or comments that may be misinterpreted as an admission of fault;
- Keep your anguish to yourself;
- Remove yourself from tagged pictures or posts;
- Consider temporarily deactivating your social media accounts; and
- Contact an experienced personal injury attorney to protect your rights and interests.
The best way to protect your personal injury claim is to retain a skilled attorney as soon as possible. A Freehold personal injury attorney will explain why you should avoid talking about your accident and injuries on social media and will help you negotiate a fair settlement amount with insurance companies. Contact our lawyers at Lomurro, Munson, Comer, Brown & Schottland, LLC to schedule a consultation. Call at 732-414-0300.
- Could the weather affect a slip and fall case?
Could the Weather Affect a Slip and Fall Case?
There are a number of factors that must be considered in slip and fall cases, including the presence of adverse weather conditions. It is true that bad weather can play a major role in a premises liability case, which is why a victim who slipped and fell on someone else’s property must consult with an experienced slip and fall accident attorney to understand their legal options.
Adverse Weather Conditions That Contribute to Slip and Fall Accidents
Some bad weather conditions are likely to contribute to slipping and falling:
- Black ice
- Wet debris or leaves
- Slippery surfaces
- Rainy puddles
- Water buildup
How Bad Weather Impacts Liability in Slip and Fall Cases
In some cases, adverse weather conditions could impact the victim’s ability to hold the property owner responsible for their slip and fall injuries. Under NJ Rev Stat § 2A:42A-8.1, all property owners who allow public access have an obligation to keep their premises free of dangerous conditions.
When a property owner could not take any reasonable steps to prevent a dangerous condition from causing harm to visitors or customers, they cannot be held liable for the victim’s injury. For example, if a visitor slips on ice because of adverse weather conditions, the owner of the property where the accident occurred may not be held liable for the injury if the owner was unaware of the dangerous condition and could not have taken reasonable steps to remove the danger.
How Property Owners Could Use Weather to Avoid Liability in Slip and Fall Cases
Premises liability law requires individuals to use extra caution during periods of adverse weather conditions to reduce the risk of slip and fall accidents. Thus, when a visitor slips and falls on someone else’s property, the owner of the property may argue that the visitor failed to exercise due care in bad weather.
New Jersey follows the doctrine of modified comparative negligence. Under NJ Rev Stat § 2A:15-5.1, an injured party’s compensation is reduced in proportion to their own degree of fault.
Therefore, while property owners have a duty to protect their visitors and customers from harm and eliminate weather-related hazards, bad weather can be used as a defense to avoid liability for a slip and fall accident.
How to Reduce the Risk of a Slip and Fall Accident in Bad Weather?
While property owners have an obligation to eliminate weather-related hazards to prevent slip and fall accidents, visitors must take safety precautions to reduce the risk of slipping and falling. Follow these tips to prevent slip and fall injuries in bad weather:
- Wear slip-resistant shoes
- Look before you step
- Use handrails when walking on stairs outside or inside
- Use a flashlight when walking in poorly lit places
- Always stay vigilant
- Put down your phone when walking in bad weather
- Stay inside when the weather outside becomes unsafe
Adverse weather conditions can impact liability in slip and fall cases, which is why it is advised to hire an experienced lawyer to help you recover damages from the negligent property owner. Here at Lomurro, Munson, Comer, Brown & Schottland, LLC, our Freehold slip and fall lawyers will review your particular situation to determine liability in your weather-related accident. Call at 732-414-0300 for a consultation.