A good personal injury lawyer will discuss the use of a social media with each of her clients. Lawyers have a duty to be knowledgeable about technologies that might affect their clients’ cases and advise their clients accordingly. This includes social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. But why is social media so important to a personal injury case? Simply put, even a single social media post can turn a personal injury case upside down and put your recovery at risk.
Social media can be a huge source of easily obtained evidence for opposing counsel. As a rule, most lawyers will review the social media profiles of both parties in the very early stages of a case. A lawyer can obtain basic information such as your location, occupation, and family members through a public social media profile. Information that is publicly available on social media is fair game as evidence in court.
Social media posts can also be used by opposing counsel to undermine your personal injury case. For example, if you are claiming to be seriously disabled, social media posts about going to the gym might undermine your claim. Such was the case in Largent v. Reed where the plaintiff claimed that a car accident caused her serious and permanent physical and mental injuries, pain, and suffering. Defense counsel requested, and was granted, access to the plaintiff’s Facebook account after uncovering posts about her going to the gym and enjoying life with her family. Furthermore, a check-in or a location tag on a social media post might contradict your testimony about where you were at a certain time.
A good rule of thumb for all social media, including exchanging private messages, is to not post anything you would be embarrassed to have read in court. Personal injury plaintiffs should be particularly thoughtful about what they post and err on the side of caution. It is a good idea to check the privacy settings of your account; however, keep in mind that if comments or photographs about you are posted on someone else’s account, they could also be used as evidence against you if the information is substantiated.
If you are unsure about how to handle your social media accounts after an accident or while your personal injury claim is pending, speak to your attorney about it. If you are seeking compensation after an injury or accident and looking for an experienced personal injury attorney, please give us a call at (704) 321-4878 or contact us online.