social media accidentsAt the heart of the issue is the argument against distracted driving. It’s simply dangerous to be distracted while you’re driving! (It’s also dangerous to walk distracted.) 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? When you do so, we call these: social media accidents.

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 – 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 if an accident occurs.

At the end of this article I’m going to share news about some recent legislation regarding laws about texting and driving, so don’t touch that dial!

What does social media and driving have to do with this issue? Is it any different?

That single image could mean that you say “bye-bye” to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Social Media After Your Accident

I’ve heard stories of car accident victims and motorcycle accident victims who literally ruined their cases due to their social media use following their accident. 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 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 on social media, 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 social media 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,” via social media, only to be in bad shape the next day. Healing is messy like that, and social media accidents can make it worse.

Take the “nuclear option” after an accident.

Don’t Post on Social Media Anything About Your Accident

We 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 DUI accident. Her case seemed straight out of a textbook; 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? Social media can be very damaging at times.

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

Shut Down Your Social Media While Driving and After an Accident

In 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.

Update on Colorado Bill That Would Increase the Fine for Texting and Driving

If you’re following SB17-027, the law that would increase the fine for texting and driving from $50 to $500, here’s an update: the bill passed the Senate State Military and Veterans Affairs Committee and is now in the hands of the Finance Committee.

The bill also has some growing support, especially from an organization called CORD: Coloradans Organized for Responsible Driving. Who is at the heart of this organization? Not car drivers, but motorcycle riders. They have lost too many of their friends to drivers who text. Read more about this organization at CBSDenver.

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

Questions? Call or email me! 303-388-5304.

“The U.S. Tax Code was written by A students. Every April 15, we have to pay somebody who got an A in accounting to keep ourselves from being sent to jail.”

~P.J. O’Rourke

It’s April in Colorado!

As we emerge out of the winter doldrums (want to know what doldrums are? Keep reading!), we should see more rain, less snow, more flowers, less brown grass. But, we will probably also see more wind. Wind is my least-favorite type of weather, but that didn’t stop me from finding some fun facts about it. I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to dream about family bike rides and Bar BQs with friends!

  • In Greek mythology, the anemoi were four wind gods, causing wind from the four compass points.
  • An instrument to measure wind speed is called an anemometer.
  • The doldrums is a wind-free area around the equator where sailing ships used to get stuck for weeks. Hence the phrase, “in the doldrums.”
  • Wind is caused by differences in air pressure. Air rushes from high pressure areas to lower ones.
  • Sea breezes occur because heat from the sun takes longer to warm the sea than the land, creating a difference in air pressure.
  • A knot is a unit often used to measure wind speed.
  • Solar wind in outer space is a stream of charged particles that come from the sun.
  • Saturn and Neptune feature the fastest planetary winds in the solar system. The strongest winds in the solar system are on Saturn where they reach speeds of over 1,100mph.
  • The first house in the world to have its electricity supplied by wind power was in Kincardineshire, Scotland in 1887.
  • The tips of the blades of wind turbines move at speeds of up to 200mph.
  • Wind power now provides 4% of the world’s energy.

Thanks to ScienceKids and Express for their help compiling this list.