Don’t Risk It – Don’t Post It: Social Media and Your Personal Injury Case.
No matter how tempting it is to post photos to show people how you’re recovering from your injuries, don’t do it. A judge might consider your smile for the camera to mean that you’re not struggling with any injuries or trauma. Avoid checking in to places on social media.
If you want to update your friends and family, call them on the phone and update them privately. Consult with your personal injury lawyer before you resume your regular social media habits to avoid having your claim unfairly denied.
Insurance Companies Want to Protect Their Profits
The more that insurance companies can provide evidence of lack of injury and treatment the less they will pay out in settlement. How do they do this? By looking at your medical records, your medical history and searching for your internet presence.
Everyone is an Investigator Through Social Media
Prior to the social media explosion, attorney would warn their clients about surveillance and private investigators hired by opposing council to track their daily activities. Now social media has a much larger impact on a personal injury case, due to the number of people using it and it’s easy accessibility. Social media evidence has been known to be a deciding factor on the compensation awarded in personal injury cases. You need to be cautious of what you are posting on social media.
What about Echo, Alexa and Fitbit?
Evidence from Echo, Alexa and Fitbit has proved admissible in court and lawyers have found ways to use it against client in court. Data from these devices shows activity levels as well as recordings from the voice command applications like Alexa.
Social Media is NOT Private
Your social media accounts are NOT private – not even Messenger. Your social media accounts can be considered evidence and used against you in court. Material on social networking sites is discoverable evidence in any civil case. Never assume that your privacy settings will protect posts from being discoverable. The Stored Communications Act does not apply to social media, and there is no expectation of privacy in voluntarily posted social media content. It is also important to note that sanctions and discipline can arise from deleting specific posts, even if you think that there is nothing discoverable within the posts.
Recommendations as it Pertains to Social Media While Your Personal Injury Case is Still Ongoing.
1. Archive the content of your current social media accounts.
2. Deactivate or discontinue using social media accounts.
3. Adjust privacy settings to the highest levels.
4. “Beware” of friends – edit your friends list.
5. Become invisible – make changes to your privacy settings.
6. Take down photos and untag photos of yourself other than headshots.
7. Be cautious and think about how things might be perceived.
8. Don’t send messages, text, etc. about your claim, health or activities to anyone except your lawyer.
9. Preserve all computers, tablets or cell phones.
10. Don’t post on websites or web group chats.
Something you consider to be harmless can be used against you by opposing counsel and be detrimental to your case.
Joe Zarzaur, founder of Zarzaur Law, P.A., a Pensacola Personal Injury law firm, has created this blog in an effort to educate the many citizens and visitors of Pensacola, Florida about their legal rights. Joe Zarzaur knows the ins and outs of Florida law, and offers friendly-quality legal help whether you have experienced an auto accident/car wreck, have been a victim of medical malpractice or are in need of a personal injury attorney. For more information, visit: https://www.zarzaurlaw.com
11 E Romana Street
Pensacola, FL 32502
The Alabama Lawyer – July 2019
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