In this rapidly evolving, digital age, social media is all-encompassing. Whether you use it to post life updates, share cool pictures, or inform yourself about news events, social media is more prominent than ever. While you might not think twice before posting something on social media, you may want to when it comes to a personal injury case. In fact, it is in your best interest to abstain from posting on social media at all during a personal injury lawsuit. To help you understand the nuances of a personal injury case, it is recommended to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help protect your rights and inform you about social media usage during litigation.
What You Post Can Be Used Against You
The general rule of thumb while you are involved in a personal injury case is to not post on social media. Whether you think it’s fair or not, practically anything that you post on social media can be considered evidence and can be used against you in court.
Let’s say you filed a personal injury claim after getting in a car accident. You claim that the injuries you sustained from the accident are very severe and you now have limited mobility in your legs. However, your social media is presenting your health status in a different light, as you posted a video of you skiing and sledding around in the snow. This would present itself as contradictory evidence to your testimony, and this one, seemingly innocent post may ultimately compromise your whole lawsuit. Furthermore, it is safe to assume that anything you post online is an opportunity for the defense to use it against you.
While you might be accustomed to mindlessly accepting any and all of your friend requests on social media, you should be careful during a personal injury lawsuit. It is not uncommon for the defense team to create fake profiles in order to see your social media accounts if you are a private account. If you receive any friend requests during the investigation period of the lawsuit, you should let them be and refrain from accepting them. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Nothing is “Private”
While there are privacy settings that you can toggle on and off on your devices, they are not 100% foolproof. Generally speaking, you should never assume that just because you posted something “privately” online, it is truly only able to be seen by those to whom you give permission. Inevitably, nothing you say or do online is private or confidential information. As technology experts become more and more advanced in their discipline, they are able to find practically anything you have ever said or done online. Your digital footprint is truly not invisible or restricted from anyone.
Commenting On Others’ Posts
It may occur to you that you shouldn’t post on social media about anything related to your court case, but what about commenting on others’ posts? Unfortunately, even the slightest act of commenting on a friend’s account can be incriminating. For example, maybe you decided to not post about your ski trip because you knew that it could potentially compromise your personal injury lawsuit. However, your friend posted about the ski trip and you commented on their post about how much fun you had skiing over the weekend, recounting how you wiped out on the slopes a handful of times. This simple comment could be used against you as evidence that you are not as severely injured as initially claimed. As aforementioned, you should think before posting, and better yet, not post at all.
Posting Confidential Information About the Case
It is also advised that you do not post any confidential information regarding the specifics of your personal injury case on social media. Again, anything you post online can be used against you in court. Even if you were just posting about how stressful your court case has been and how upset you are at the individual who caused the car accident, you never know how this information could be used against you.
Deleting Social Media Posts
In the event you accidentally post something on social media related to your court case, do not delete it. Deleting or manipulating evidence that is pertinent to the court case is considered spoliation. Spoliation of evidence can negatively and significantly impact litigation. Thus, if you carelessly post something on social media while involved in a personal injury case, it is best to let it be.
As you have learned, posting on social media during personal injury litigation is undoubtedly a slippery slope. It is in your best interest not to post anything at all during the case so as not to compromise the integrity of your personal injury claim. Even if you are not involved in a personal injury case, it is still advised to be careful when posting anything on social media. You never know what might come back to bite you.