Should People Share Vehicle Accident Photos on Social Media?


August 19, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, FL. – August 9, 2018 (wctv.com) An online article from wctv.com examines the debate behind posting photos and videos of vehicle accidents to social media.*

In July, a major vehicle accident occurred on Interstate 10 in Florida. Reports described it as a 45-car pileup. The crash left one person seriously injured and backed up traffic on the interstate for hours. During the chaos, numerous people posted photos and videos to social media. Some of these depicted the victim of the accident, which sparked a debate in the comments about whether such photos and videos should be shared online. 

From a legal standpoint, when an accident occurs on a public roadway, out in the open, people do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Photos and videos of the accident and people involved can be taken without legal consequences. Some states, like Florida, do have laws on the books prohibiting photos or videos of injured police officers, but many states, including Georgia, do not have laws regarding online content from vehicle accidents. 

As with many forms of new technology, the legal system has to evolve to keep up. But there is also a question of ethics outside of any legal ramifications. For instance, Rennai Kelly was one of the people involved in the 45-vehicle crash on I-10. She was not injured but posted photos of the injured person to social media. Her photos quickly drew some negative comments about violating the victim’s privacy. 

Kelly says her photos were meant to call attention to the good nature of people helping an injured person. “I saw everyone standing over him with umbrellas and people crying,” she said. “We’re all looking in shock and everyone was really concerned, [genuinely] concerned for him.”

Kelly said she would have instantly taken them down if the victim’s family asked, but the family reached out to her and said they were fine with the photos.  

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Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.