The Issues Regarding Social Media in a Personal Injury Case
There are a variety of factors that can affect a personal injury claim. Things like the severity of the injury, physical evidence, pain and suffering, the plaintiff’s ability to work, the negligence of the defendant and any statements made by other parties.
As a case progresses, more individuals will become involved in the case and the defense’s attorneys and investigators will turn to social media to look for evidence of fraud, conflicting statements, exaggerations or additional evidence that impacts the plaintiff’s character in court. Social media, unfortunately, is a great resource for the defense and is widely used to discredit a plaintiff’s claims.
For example, a plaintiff is claiming that their injury has significantly impacted their quality of life. They cannot work, resume normal activities, etc. They are claiming pain and suffering and they have a legitimate claim. But, at a family event where they sat through the pain, they were told to “smile” for a photograph. The plaintiff smiles – because it is human nature to smile in a picture – regardless of their pain. This smiling photograph is then shared on their social media page and the defense finds it. They use that smiling photograph in court to discredit the plaintiff’s pain and suffering claim or state that the plaintiff has exaggerated his or her injuries.
Any time you are involved in a personal injury lawsuit (or any lawsuit for that matter) you are not to discuss the details of your case with anyone except your attorney. This advice also applies to the use of social media and what information you specifically share on sites like Twitter, Facebook or even Google+. While these sites are meant to help keep family and friends abreast to your activities, they are a plaintiff’s worst enemy when it comes to a personal injury claim.
Using Social Media Responsibly
If you are in the middle of a personal injury suit, you need to refrain from all social media usage. If you must use it, there are things you can do to avoid having what you post or say used against you. Some things you should do include:
- Setting your profile to “private” so that the public cannot search for you via Facebook.
- Never accepting friend requests from strangers on social media or individuals that you do not recognize – even if they claim to know you.
- Never post any photographs or videos of yourself or allow others to “tag” you in their photos and videos.
- Never send emails or create posts regarding your case – including information about your settlement or the outcome of the lawsuit.
Equally important you should make sure that friends and family know not to post any information on their own social media profiles regarding your case or any settlements. Family and friends should switch their profiles to “private” as well to avoid having information about your injury and case searched via their profiles.
Even legitimate claims can be harmed by social media. What you post or what others post can easily be twisted or misconstrued to make you look as though you are claiming something false.
Hire a Skilled Personal Injury Attorney – Contact Carey, Danis & Lowe Attorneys at Law Now
If you have been injured in an accident or due to someone’s negligence, contact the attorneys at Carey, Danis & Lowe Attorneys at Law today for a consultation. Call toll-free at 877-678-3400 or contact us online with your questions.