The Impact of Social Media on Your Personal Injury Case
While social media can permeate our lives intentionally or unintentionally, well-meaning posts about motor vehicle accidents, falls, dog bites and construction accidents can harm the case of a legitimate accident victim.
After we file a personal injury lawsuit for a client, the insurance company for the defendant files an Answer to the Complaint. At this point "Discovery" begins. (A fancy name for the exchange of information in a lawsuit).
The defense always inquires if the plaintiff (the party suing) has Facebook, Instagram, Snapshot or other social media accounts. They want to see your posts with the hope that they will find statements or photographs, which will help them win the case. While the defense is not entitled to your password to dig deeper, which would be an invasion of privacy, they can see what you've posted for public consumption.
They also make a demand that any posts on your account not be changed or deleted under the penalty of "spoliation of evidence' (a fancy term for destroying evidence).
For example, the doctor of a 21 year-old woman recommended that she try yoga to help her with flexibility after a car accident. She posted photographs of herself performing yoga movements that made her look like a pretzel.
While an acceptable offer was eventually made to settle her case, her innocent posting of her images reduced the value of her case.
The takeaway from this article is simple. If you are involved in an accident, don't write about your injuries or post pictures of yourself or your property damage as doing so can come home to haunt you. use the privacy settings on social media accounts so you are not sharing your personal information with the general public.