HOW SOCIAL MEDIA IMPACTS PERSONAL INJURY CASES

Social media has become a huge part of many people’s day to day lives. As people become more and more comfortable with sharing their lives online, the laws have had to adapt. There can be legal ramifications for what people post online, like in cases of cyber bullying and harassment. Although trivial, it might be wise to take a break from all your social media sites if you are in the middle of an ongoing personal injury case.

Here’s why:

Attorneys can use Discovery to gain access to your account If you are the plaintiff in a personal injury case, defense attorneys look for evidence to suggest your claim is an exaggeration of your injuries or the extent of its effect on your life. In a personal injury case, attorneys are entitled to discovery. “Discoverable” information is that which is “material and necessary” and “reasonably calculated” to lead to relevant information. For example, if you claim your injury has impacted your ability to walk but there are pictures of you walking around enjoying your weekend with friends, this could be used against you. If these pictures are public, the court may decide that it can be inferred that private information may contain material that contradicts or conflicts your claims or injuries and order disclosure of the private information.

Even if your account is “private”, you can still be at risk Due to the fact that defense attorneys may be able to use Discovery to obtain access to material that refutes your claim, your private settings won’t protect you.

Don’t tweet about the defendant Though you may feel upset with the person who you feel caused your injuries, negative posts you write about them can be used in court as well. However justified in your anger you may be, the defense attorneys can portray you as being someone who is exaggerating and simply out to get money.

Posting about your injuries and activities can backfire When you write about your injuries and your daily activities on social media, your description may be different than the official claims made in court. If your claim on Facebook is inconsistent than the doctor’s claim testifying for the case, the defense could find this to be a falsehood. In summary, don’t even tweet about your injuries or daily activities. Posts on your social media can decrease the value of your argument in the court.