Can Social Media Destroy Your Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Don’t Hurt Your Case by Posting on Social Media
If you have been injured and you post on social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and so on, you may potentially hinder the value of your case. It’s not necessarily because you are doing anything wrong, but because the defense and insurance companies comb social media sites to find any piece of evidence they can use that will help their case and hurt yours. Something you may post and think is completely irrelevant to your lawsuit could possibly end up being quite harmful. Our attorneys at The Law Office of Luis Cartaya, PA suggest that our clients do not post on social media about your injuries, your state of mind, or anything related to your case. While we don’t encourage our clients to completely stop using social media, especially today when a lot of communication is done through social media, we feel it is better if you stop posting on social media at all during the entire time of your suit. In many circumstances, what you say or do online can be used against you to dispute a personal injury claim.
Our main concern is that while you may think whatever you post has nothing to do with your case, it could turn out to be something quite useful to the defense and very bad for you.
Why Does Social Media Hurt Your Case?
Oversharing is a common problem across social media platforms, and revealing too much about yourself can have a serious impact on your personal and business relationships, as well as your finances. When you post on Facebook or Instagram, you may assume that only your friends will see what you are posting. However most people don’t know exactly how to properly change their privacy settings, and social media is meant to be open. Let’s assume that you post a picture that you took a few years ago of you playing basketball or participating in another physical activity and you use that as your profile picture on Facebook. Online photos and posts are increasingly being used as evidence in court. What, where and when you post is increasingly being used as evidence in personal injury lawsuits, and may cast doubt on your version of events, your character, or the extent of your injuries. Now let’s assume you are injured, so you cannot currently participate in the previous physical activity. A potential defense lawyer is going to claim you can compete in physical activity (basketball), as it shows it on your Facebook page. Next thing you know, the defense attorney may demand access to everything in your Facebook account. That could include personal information you might not want anyone to see. Or it could include information that shouldn’t be harmful to your case, but is. Because lawsuits are a funny thing, and the most surprising things can cause problems for your suit. It can all start because of an old picture that you posted on Facebook, and now it’s become part of heated litigation as to whether or not the defense can see more to determine whether or not it is an old picture, or if you have similar ones dated more recently. If the defense can see information that is in some way contradictory on social media to what you are claiming in your lawsuit, the court is likely to grant discovery for your Facebook account. What that means is that everything you have posted in your account will be viewable by defense counsel and potentially usable in your lawsuit.
No Deleting Content
We advise our clients that they must understand that once you post something harmful, you cannot delete it. That is considered destruction of evidence, otherwise known as spoliation. Spoliation of evidence is a term often used during the process of discovery. Spoliation of evidence happens when a document or information that is required for discovery is destroyed or altered significantly and the penalties can be very serious, both for your attorney and for you in terms of your lawsuit.
For your own well-being, please be careful what you put online. It can really come back to haunt you. To learn more about social media privacy or if you need any legal advice contact us at The Law Office of Luis Cartaya, PA. Our experienced Florida personal injury attorneys can advise you on the best course of action in your case and assist you in getting the compensation you deserve for your injuries.