Defense Attorneys and investigators use social media as a tool to help build a strong case against you, so as easy as it is to get caught up in posting life updates to social media feeds, it may be best to think twice before doing so. Shutting it down or staying off social accounts can help protect a victim's personal injury claim.
Negative Impacts Social Media Can Create
When actively on apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, users often share vast amounts of personal information without knowing who’s looking at it. Anything posted on social media (especially pictures) can be used as evidence by an insurance adjuster or defense attorney who wants to challenge the validity of a personal injury claim. Actively posting on social media while in the middle of a personal injury lawsuit can put victims at risk of:
Contradicting the Testimony
Once a case is in litigation, the victim will usually be deposed (an oral statement under oath). During the deposition, they will be asked many questions about how the personal injury event (auto-accident, slip, fall, etc.) impacted their life. If you’re posting your activities on social media, you increase the chances of contradicting what you say at your deposition with what you previously posted online. Repeated contradictions may damage the victim’s credibility and likeability, which are very important in securing a remarkable jury verdict or an arbitration award.
Comments From Family or Friends
Even if you are very careful about what you post on social media, you cannot control what your social media contacts, your friends, and your family, say on social media in response to your carefully crafted post. For instance, you may be posting a picture of your snow-covered backyard. Nothing else. But a neighbor or family member may comment something along the lines of, hey, how are you feeling after shoveling that snow? Or hey, I saw you take a fall on that snow; how are you feeling? The truth could be that you didn’t shovel that snow, your son or daughter did. And you didn’t fall but almost did. The point is that you’re ok and didn’t reinjure yourself, and it was not a big deal. Nevertheless, the comments to your post will cast doubt on the authenticity of your claim.
Even simple check-ins can be detrimental to your claim. For example, let’s say you’re checking into Orange Theory every week. A potential juror (even though they are not supposed to be conducting their own “research” outside the courtroom), or an insurance adjuster might think, hey, you’re 100% ok, even though the truth might be that you just walked very slowly on the treadmill for 10 minutes, just like the doctor ordered. We can, of course, share the full circumstances surrounding the social media check-ins, but we don’t want to play defense. At Kode Law, we prefer to be on the offense.
Even if nothing is said, please be careful about the other information you may relay. For instance, a picture of someone taking selfies while driving or engaging in other high-risk or illegal activities—could harm their claim.
Posts Are Permanent and Public
Last, you may be thinking that you have outsmarted the system by ensuring that all your posts are private. Or perhaps you think that because the account is private, it is not subject to investigations or discovery during litigation. Well, you’d be Wrong. When a case is in litigation, the courts consistently find that the parties are indeed entitled to information shared on social media, even if the profile is private, so long as it is relevant, non-privileged information.
Kode Law Firm, PLLC Can Help
If you or someone you know is worried about their social media account affecting the success of their personal injury claim, it's best to talk to a skilled attorney right away. Here at Kode Law Firm, PLLC, our founding attorney Preet Kode will sit down with you to discuss the details of your case and offer you any legal support you may need moving forward. With years of experience on our side, you can rest assured knowing that when you choose to work with us, we will do everything we can to make sure you are protected.
Contact us today at (206) 312-4320 or visit us online to schedule your free consultation.