Social media is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and any other online accounts that you maintain that have to do with your personal life. The truth is, social media and personal injury lawsuits do not mix. Your activity on any social media website has the ability to provide the other side with material that can have a troubling impact on your personal injury claim.
What Can Happen with Social Media and Personal Injury Lawsuits
For example, you post pictures on your Facebook page. Those pictures may be of you on a vacation to the mountains. It may be a picture of you picking up your grandchild. Those pictures can be taken out of context by the defendant at your trial to argue that you are not hurt that badly. Even a video of you smiling could be used to suggest that you have not suffered serious injury.
Insurance companies hire defense attorneys to gather incriminating evidence on plaintiffs. In the past, this evidence was retrieved solely by video surveillance. In today’s social media environment, much of this material is available to them instantly, online.
A good defense attorney will twist the facts, using photos and any accompanying comments found on Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts to demonstrate to the judge and jury that you are still able to lead a fulfilling life. That may not be the case and it may not be true, but pictures can speak a thousand words—and taken out of context can ruin your credibility and have a disastrous effect on your case.
Are You Safe if You Use Privacy Settings on Social Media?
Even if you restrict public access through privacy controls on Facebook and Twitter, that does not guarantee actual privacy in the event of litigation. The court can still order you to produce the information and materials on your social media sites.
In fact, in Romano v Steelcase Inc.(1) the court found the injured party’s use of privacy settings as a way to “hide behind self-set privacy controls,” and “depriving” the defense counsel access to social media material that might be relevant to your claim.
Best Advice: Steer Clear of Social Media during a Personal Injury Case
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