Social Media and Car Accidents


Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

We all like our social media so that we can keep in touch with family and friends.  Social media is also important to show that we have a respectable online profile for job applications, college applications, or general goodwill for charities.  We like to keep everyone updated on our lives, but should you use social media to announce to friends that you have been in a car accident?  People fail to consider how their online presence will be perceived by a court of law in the event any legal action is taken.

A good rule of thumb to remember is there is no such thing as privacy on any social media sites.  As a personal injury plaintiff, you must realize that anything that is posted about you on anyone’s profile is not private.   You should never post anything that you would not want heard in front of a judge and jury (your community).

The picture or post may not even be what it seems, but the insurance defense lawyer will twist any of your postings , requiring you to provide an explanation during trial about what was really meant in the post.  Be warned, insurance companies may start monitoring and copying your social networking accounts almost immediately after an accident occurs.

How can social networking be harmful if you are a victim in a car, motorcycle or, trucking accident?  If you are claiming injuries in a motor vehicle accident, you would not want to post something like “I just ran a 5k today!”  Or if you are claiming a severe back injury, “I just rode a horse today!”  This may show that you are not as seriously injured as you are claiming.

Sure, even people with serious injuries have good days and may take a picture of themselves doing something they normally can’t do, but any photo is discoverable (even if it’s not posted online), so you may have to provide it to the defense lawyer after suit is filed and then you can be sure they will show it to the jury to try make you out to be a liar.  Not fair?  Of course not, but insurance companies and their lawyers play dirty.

You also do not want to post anything about your feelings toward the person that caused your injuries, any status updates about your law suit, or anything about you, your family, or your lifestyle.  You do not want to post any pictures of yourself.  All these things can affect the part of your case where your attorney is arguing that you have a lower quality of life due to your sustained injuries.

If you think we’re advising you to stay away from cameras and social media after you’ve been hurt in a collision, you’re right!

According to an article written for American Association for Justice by Steve Gordon, defense attorneys and insurers will readily spend ten to thirty thousand dollars in hopes of getting 10 seconds of video footage showing the injured plaintiff doing something that “he could not possibly do if he was truly as injured as he says.”

Take time to “Google” yourself and see what comes up.  You do not want a website popping up that shows you just won a marathon over the weekend.  This will discredit you in your case to the defense and the jury.  You must assume that defense attorneys will be googling your name and checking out your social networking profiles to see how injured you truly are.  If you have something that you think might hurt your case, tell you lawyer about it upfront.  It is better for your lawyer to know what is going on rather than have him surprised at mediation or in court.

If you have any questions about social networking and your pending law suit or if you or anyone you know has been injured in a car accident, call the Traub Law Office at 512-343-2572 or contact us online.

UPDATE

Here are three document production requests we received in a client’s case (from Progressive Insurance’s lawyers):

  1. For each social media account maintained by you since the date of the accident to the present, produce the exact web address (URL) and user’s name as it currently appears on the social media site, or as it last appeared before you cancelled services with the social media site.
  2. For each social media account, other than Facebook, maintained by you since the date of the accident to the present, produce any photos, videos, messages, posts, blogs, status updates, location “check-ins” or other content from the date of the accident to present.
  3. If you maintained a Facebook account, produce a copy of your account archive.  Your account archive is obtained by navigating to your account settings and clicking on the “download your Facebook data” link.

What to Do After an Accident


Last Updated on October 16th, 2018

In this video, I discuss the vital things you must do after an accident.

You can get a Free Accident Pamphlet to keep in your glove box in case you’re in a wreck. Enjoy!

Don’t forget – if you have any questions, you can call us at (512) 246-9191 or order our free reports and guides for car accident victims.

Legal Humor


Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

The following are actual statements placed on insurance forms where the car’s driver attempted to summarize the details of their accident in the fewest words possible.

  • The guy was all over the road. I had to swerve a number of times before I hit him.
  • I pulled away from the side of the road, glanced at my mother-in-law, and headed over an embankment.
  • In my attempt to kill a fly, I drove into a telephone poll.
  • I had been driving for 40 years when I fell asleep at the wheel and had an accident.
  • The pedestrian had no idea which way to run, so I ran over him.
  • My car was legally parked as it backed into the other vehicle.
  • I saw a slow moving, sad faced old gentleman as he bounced off the roof of my car.
  • I was thrown from my car as it left the road. I was later found in a ditch by some stray cows.

Burnet County wreck kills man


Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

A 19-year-old Marble Falls man who was hospitalized Thursday after a wreck involving a school bus in Burnet County died Friday, a hospital official said.

Mark Fluty was severely injured Thursday when the 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier he was riding in left the eastbound lanes of FM 1431 and crossed into oncoming traffic, colliding with a Marble Falls school district bus.

Fluty and the driver of the car, Mark Cooksey, who is in his 20s, were flown to University Medical Center Brackenridge. Cooksey was released that evening.
The school bus driver and the seven students on the bus, which was traveling from Marble Falls Elementary School, were not injured, said Ryder Warren, school district superintendant.

The collision occurred on FM 1431 near the entrance of Honeymoon Ranch Road at 3:55 p.m. Thursday. The accident remains under investigation by Granite Shoals police.

4th Child in Crash Dies


Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

A 6-year-old girl who had been in critical condition at Dell Children’s Medical Center after a wreck in Bastrop County last weekend died Friday morning.

Angie Gonzalez of Houston was riding in a van with four other children and two adults last Sunday afternoon when the driver failed to yield to a pickup while turning onto Texas 21 from U.S. 290.

Three other children – Leah Gonzalez, 5, Noel Gonzalez, 8, and Paul Gonzalez, 9 – died at the scene.  Two adults were taken to University Medical Center Brackenridge and released shortly after.  Apolinar Saldana, 1, and Angie Gonzalez were taken to Dell Children’s as well. Saldana was released on Friday.

Apparently, only one person was wearing a seat belt and the 1-year-old was in a car seat.  I don’t know why the other children weren’t in boosters or seat belts.

Truck hits, kills woman on street


Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

A 64-year-old woman was killed Thursday night when she was hit by a vehicle while crossing a street in Northeast Austin.

The woman was crossing Cameron Road mid-block near St. Johns Avenue on Friday at 7:36 p.m. when she was struck by a 1999 GM pickup in the southbound right lane.  She was pronounced dead en route to the hospital.

Neither alcohol nor speed seemed to be factors in the incident and the pickup driver remained at the scene.

Anyone with information is asked to call vehicular homicide unit detectives at (512) 974-4724.

Mom, child hurt in crash with school bus in Austin


Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

A mother and an infant were injured Friday morning when their car and an Austin school district bus carrying 26 students collided along Slaughter Lane, authorities said.

No, students were hospitalized, said Warren Has-singer, spokesman for Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services.

Police said the bus had a green light and was attempting to turn onto Texas Oaks Drive from Slaughter Lane but failed to yield to oncoming traffic. A KIA sedan slid into and under the bus, officials said.

Firefighters rescued the car’s driver, who was briefly pinned in.

She was taken to University Medical Center Brackenridge and was conscious, police said. The infant was taken to Dell Children’s Medical Center for observation.

No citations were issued, police said.

Officials said the driver has worked for the district since 2007. She has been placed on paid administrative leave until an investigation is complete, officials said.

She has not been involved in any other collisions during her time with the school district, officials said.

Man dies in interstate 10 wreck in Seguin


Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

A Canyon Lake man died Friday after a wreck on Interstate 10 near Seguin, Department of Public Safety officials said.

Officials reported that Jason Kline, 38, was driving a Ford pickup west on I-10 when a tractor-trailer hydroplaned and skidded through the median into oncoming traffic.

The trailer struck Kline’s truck, and he died at the scene, officials said.

The driver of the tractor-trailer was in good condition Sunday at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, officials said.

Driver held in fatal wreck


Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

A 25-year-old man was being held Monday in the Travis County Jail in connection with a one-vehicle wreck that killed a 19-year-old Hutto woman.

Arturo Vazquez-Corona was charged with intoxication manslaughter and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, both felonies, according to an affidavit filed Monday.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has also, placed a hold on Vazquez-Corona for eventual deportation, the affidavit said. Vazquez-Corona’s nationality was not mentioned in the affidavit.

Claudia Morales was pronounced dead at the scene of he crash Thursday night on Gattis School Road at Priem Lane, southwest of Star Ranch.

The affidavit says Vazquez-Corona lost control of his Honda and struck a brick mailbox with the rear passenger side, where Morales was sitting.

Vazquez-Corona was taken to University Medical Center Brackenridge for a blood test, according to the affidavit. Two other passengers in the car were treated for minor injuries at Brackenridge and later released.

Study links trauma deaths, lack of insurance


Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

Patients who lack health insurance are more likely to die from car wrecks and other traumatic injuries than people who belong to a health plan, even though emergency rooms are required to care for all patients. regardless of ability to pay, according to a study to be published today.

An analysis of 687,091 patients who visited trauma centers nationwide between 2002 and 2006 found that the odds of dying after an accidental injury were nearly twice as high for the uninsured than for patients with private insurance, researchers reported in Archives of Surgery.

Trauma physicians said they were surprised by the findings, even though a slew of studies had previously documented the ill effects of going without health coverage. Uninsured patients are less likely to be screened for certain cancers or be admitted to specialty hospitals for procedures such as heart bypass surgery.

They also often wait longer to see doctors in ERs.

And patients without insurance may have higher rates of untreated underlying conditions that make it harder to recover from trauma injuries, the research team from Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston said. They also may be more passive with doctors and nurses because they don’t interact with them as often.

Overall, about 18,000 deaths each year have been traced to a lack of health insurance.