You might think that Fort Collins experiences its highest accident rates in the winter when our roads are icy and all those CSU students are driving around. But it turns out that we have the most car accidents in the summer, when our volume of drivers is up (tourists?) and, in my humble opinion, people think they’re safe so they make dumb decisions, like texting and driving. This tragic story in the Fort Collins Coloradoan about a Fort Collins car accident that killed a 19-year-old woman states, “The summer months are typically the deadliest on Colorado roads, with more opportunities for distracted and impaired driving.”

Aerial view of Fort Collins, Colorado

Sadly, this fatal accident in Fort Collins was the result of literally the most common type of accident – left-hand turns in front of oncoming traffic. The accident happened at Drake and Timberline, a notoriously bad intersection for accidents in Ft. Collins because it is very wide and includes King Soopers traffic. Before I get into the main topic of my article (social media and car accidents), I need to restate a very important fact: If you’re sitting at a left-hand turn lane and you’re making this bet with yourself: “I think I can make it before that car…” Just don’t turn! It’s not worth it!

Now, back to my original point: It’s generally a well-known fact that texting and driving is dangerous. So, I’m guessing everyone also knows that any use of your smartphone while driving is a bad idea. For example, taking selfies as you drive: bad idea. Not only is it ridiculously distracting but those images could be used against you to prove that you were not paying attention to the road.

So, we all agree that using social media while driving is a bad idea. But did you know that it is also a bad idea to use social media after your accident?

Social Media After Your Accident

Person on smart phone after car accidentI’ve heard stories of car accident victims and motorcycle accident victims who literally ruined their cases due to their social media use. How? Imagine this: You’re the victim of an awful car accident. The other driver is clearly at fault and, depending on your injuries and medical needs, you may be owed hundreds of thousands of dollars. But one day, you’re finally having a good day after the accident, and you take a picture of yourself hiking Long’s Peak just outside Ft. Collins and you post it on Facebook. You were in tremendous back pain the entire hike but felt so proud of yourself that you just had to share the image with your friends because they’ve all been rooting for you and supporting you since the accident. You want them to know you’re a fighter!

But that single image could mean that you say “bye-bye” to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The other driver’s insurance company will use that post to prove that your injuries aren’t very bad and that they don’t owe you as much as you originally stated.

I’m not in any way suggesting that people lie about their injuries. I don’t promote or tolerate false reporting of injuries. But I’ve also seen people with traumatic injuries enjoy one good day and get excited because they feel like they’re getting their lives back together, and they mistakenly tell insurance companies, “I feel like I’m getting better,” only to be in bad shape the next day. Healing is messy like that.

Don’t Post Anything About Your Ft. Collins Car Accident

Icon of hand holding cellphone with a red circle over it crossed out - no social mediaWe live in a sharing culture. A baby gets her first tooth (something babies have been doing since, like, forever) and it goes viral to millions of people all over the world. It’s especially fun to share your life with family and friends whom you don’t get to see often. But you need to be very careful about how you use social media after a car accident.

I saw a recent case in which a woman was terribly injured in a Fort Collins DUI accident. Her case seemed straight out of a text book; I bet the other driver’s insurance company was getting ready to cut her a huge check just to be done with the case. But then she went and posted a picture of herself on Facebook… at a square-dancing event! I kid you not. The picture didn’t capture the wheelchair she had just abandoned to try to – finally – stand up and enjoy time on her feet with her friends. But the damage was done. She didn’t get everything she requested and, I’m guessing, her medical bills will be higher than her settlement.

We tell kids all the time to be careful what they post online because colleges and future employers now include social media in their selection processes. Do you really think an insurance company with thousands of dollars on the line won’t troll your social media use for items they can use against you?

Please, if you’re in a car accident, call an attorney. Don’t post an update.

Shut Down Your Social Media After an Accident in Fort Collins

Nuclear explosionIn fact, I recommend that you take the “nuclear option” after an accident and shut down your social media entirely. Often, I have clients balk at such a drastic measure. They promise, “I promise not to post anything about my accident!” But I don’t want them to post ANYTHING! And secondly, I don’t want their friends to tag them in their images or posts.

Your social media content can be subpoenaed in a court case. You could be forced to turn it all over. So, if you’re curious about what to say on social media after a crash, the answer is NADA! Say nothing. Also shut it all down so your friends can’t post anything. Go dark until your case is over.

The lesson here: social media is fraught with peril. No driving and using social media. No using social media after a car accident. However, I’d love to see your baby’s first tooth!

Questions? Call, text or email me! 303-388-5304, Scott@osullivan-law-firm.com