What you post online could come back to haunt you in your personal injury case.
For better or for worse, social media is a major part of our daily lives — not just in the United States, but across the world. From Facebook to Twitter to Snapchat to Instagram, many Americans love to use social media. People frequently post daily updates, pictures, and even videos of both everyday occurrences and special events like vacations.
But if you are involved in a personal injury lawsuit, these postings may ultimately be used against you. A seemingly innocent post about going out for a night or on a trip could be evidence in your case — even if your privacy settings are locked down. That is because many attorneys are now requesting information about social media accounts in lawsuits, so even if they cannot access your profile directly, you may be required to turn over your information as part of the discovery process.
Discovery is the part of a lawsuit where the parties exchange information about the case. As a general rule, discovery is meant to be “free and fair,” so even information that is only slightly relevant to the case may be requested by the other side. And because social media postings have the potential to be highly relevant to your claim, there is a strong likelihood that you will be required to turn over your postings to the other side in a personal injury case.
Think of it this way: in the old days, a defense attorney may have had to hire a private investigator to follow a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit around to see if he or she was lying or exaggerating about the extent of their injuries. There was even an episode of the Brady Bunch where Mr. Brady dropped his suitcase on the floor of the courtroom to prove that the man who sued them after a car accident was faking his neck injury. But in 2017, social media makes it even easier for defense attorneys to claim that someone is either lying about their injury or exaggerating about it — and often in entirely unfair ways.
Many of us only post our “best lives” to social media. We don’t post our pain and suffering, or talk about how difficult our lives are. We post pictures and videos of happy times, not the days where we can barely get out of bed or our numerous trips to the doctor. If the other side’s attorney gets ahold of postings where it seems like you are living a great life, he or she could try to claim that you must be lying about the extent of your injuries — otherwise you wouldn’t be so happy and able to do all of that fun stuff.
That is why most skilled personal injury attorneys recommend that their clients stay off of social media while their case is pending — or to be very, very careful about what they post. Even innocent posts could be misconstrued or taken out of context to be used against you. Being smart about what you put online can help protect your ability to recover for your injuries.
If you have been hurt in an accident, contact the Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We will fight for your right to recovery, and will advise you through each step of the process. Initial consultations are always free, and we never charge a fee unless we get money for you!