Living in the modern digital age is a great thing. Social media puts us in instant contact with our friends and people all around the world. It’s great. That is, until it isn’t. Social media gone bad can have devastating impacts.
It can also lead to lawsuits.
Social Media, Invasions of Privacy, and Personal Injury
Privacy invasions have been alleged due to a number of social media activities. In one case, a paramedic alleged her privacy was invaded by her company which fired her for posting a comment on Facebook saying she wanted to “slap” a patient that needed restraining. In another case, a man who was estranged from his uncle and not Facebook friends with him alleged his privacy was invaded when the uncle posted family photos to Facebook with obscene comments that featured the plaintiff and “tagged” him as identification.
Privacy laws exist for a reason. Even though social media has changed the way we share our information, the law still requires others to respect your privacy.
The issue the courts wrestle within the digital age is whether there is a “reasonable expectation of privacy” that has been invaded by online communication at issue. We tend to see a number of privacy claims arising from a variety of Internet and social media activities. Facebook posts are the most common matter of dispute, but claims may also arise from Google searches, LinkedIn profile usage, or MySpace posts.
State laws define what constitutes an invasion of privacy. Invasion of privacy is the unjustifiable intrusion into the personal life of another without consent. Invasion of privacy generally consists of four distinct causes of action. They are:
- Appropriation of Name or Likeness
- Intrusion Into Seclusion
- False Light
- Public Disclosure of Private Facts.
Each cause of action requires proof of distinct elements.
Privacy Invasions Are Damaging
While perhaps not as obvious with regard to the damage they cause as, say, a car accident, privacy violations do injure people—often quite severely. They can cause anxiety, depression, fear, and humiliation.
While emotional and psychological damage can be more difficult to prove, its harmful effects on the individual are often long-lasting. The harm caused by social media privacy invasions can be highly embarrassing, often causing the victim to feel shame or subjecting them to irreparable damage to their reputation in their community. If the invasion concerned a person’s business, they can suffer economic loss as well.
Personal injury in the digital age may have taken on a new meaning, but it is just as real as in the days of neighborhood gossip and “peeping Toms.”.
Laws Exist for a Reason.
If you believe that you have been injured by an invasion of your privacy, call us. We are experienced litigation attorneys dedicated to getting our clients the compensation they deserve. We offer free consultations and in most cases, we do not get paid unless you win your case. Call us at (225) 465-1232 or email us here.