The Perils of Social Media in a Personal Injury Case
The hammer seems to swing two ways when it comes to photos and personal injury cases. In that way, I can see how people may be confused.
On one hand, people in personal injury accidents are advised to take as many photos of the scene as possible, to ensure evidence of the incident has been gathered before it’s tampered. On the other hand, photos can damage your case.
Social media postings can conflict with your reported injuries, and that for which you’re seeking payment.
Here’s what typically happens: someone files a personal injury claim, stating the incident has left them “confined” and “depressed”.
Then, the defense digs into Facebook profiles and discovers the opposite: the person is laughing, playing sports and just enjoying life.
Doesn’t sound very “depressed”, does it?
There was the example of the Long Island High School teacher and the case of sexual assault. The teacher was found guilty and sentenced to 15 months in jail. The victim, however, sought further damages – amongst them were “alienation of affections” and “loss of enjoyment of life”.
Lawyers from the school districts pored through her accounts—which were largely kept private—to find her smiling with her boyfriend and hanging around with friends. These photos would serve to contradict her claims.
If you are involved in a personal injury claim, it’s wise to suspend your accounts altogether.
It’s not enough to simply set it to “private”. The rules of discovery allow defense attorneys access to your entire account. It’s the role of the defense to use everything they can to protect their client. Social media is one of their best assets, and a “go-to source” for evidence amongst insurance defense lawyers.
Your social media profiles are public record
You might think otherwise, but anything you post on the Internet can be used against you.
Matthew Philbrook is one of the Vancouver’s best local attorneys, who specializes in personal injury cases. For legal advice or any questions you may have, please don’t hesitate to contact our office.