Facebook has over 1 billion users around the world. Twitter has approximately 31 million users and Instagram has been the fastest growing social channel for several years. Using social media has become a fundamental part of the lives of most people around the world.
But if you are involved in personal injury litigation, using social media could be the worst thing you could do.
Because when you are pursuing a personal injury case, anything you post on social media could be used against you during your case. Even a seemingly harmless post could be detrimental to your case.
Defense Attorneys, Insurance Adjusters, and Social Media
We all know that technology has changed the way we all communicate and do business. Very soon, technology may even change the way we all drive. Well, the legal industry has been affected by technological advances too.
When it comes to personal injury cases, the courts have recognized the potential influence of social media postings on injury claims. In fact, in many cases, social media posts are routinely admitted as evidence where relevant.
For personal injury plaintiffs, this means there are a few things you need to be aware of.
One is that defense attorneys and insurance attorneys and adjusters routinely review social media looking for ways to discredit and minimize a plaintiff’s injuries. So, if you claim in your lawsuit that you are so injured you cannot leave the house or cannot socialize with friends, yet you post pictures of yourself out partying, this can be used as evidence against you to show that your claims are not credible.
Your Privacy Settings Won’t Protect You
Second, you need to be aware of the fact that the courts do not buy the “expectation of privacy” argument based on the fact that your social media site was set to “private.” This is what the New York plaintiff in Romano v. Steelcase, [907 N.Y.S.2d 650 (September 21, 2010)], learned the hard way. After filing a product liability lawsuit alleging she was injured when the chair she was sitting in collapsed, leaving her unable to leave her house or socialize, Kathleen Romano posted pictures of herself outside her house smiling. The defendants sought access to Romano’s private pages on Facebook and MySpace (protected by her “privacy settings”) based on the argument that her publicly available information from these sites revealed information that seemed inconsistent with her claims concerning the extent and nature of her injuries.
Romano argued that this information was protected by her expectation of “privacy.”
The New York Supreme Court didn’t buy it. According to the court, when Romano created her social media accounts, she consented to the fact that her personal information would be shared with others, regardless of the privacy settings. In fact, said the court, that’s the whole purpose of social networking.
So, the moral of the story is, if you are a personal injury plaintiff, be very careful of what you post on your social media sites. Don’t think that just because you share with a few friends and have privacy settings that posts or pictures that undermine your claims of injury will be protected by your “right to privacy.”
We Can Guide You
If you have been injured by another’s negligence, contact us. We are experienced personal injury attorneys in Baton Rouge. We offer FREE consultations and in many cases, we don’t get paid unless you win. We serve Baker, Denham, Gonzales, Port Allen, Prairieville, New Orleans, and Zachary. Call (225) 465-1232 ToDay to schedule your free consultation or contact us here.