We all use social media to let our friends know what we’re doing… vacations, parties, athletic events, family occasions. All that posting seems pretty harmless because we’re posting for our friends to see. But if you’re involved in a personal injury case, everything you post can potentially be used against you.
What before used to be hard-to-come-by evidence against a plaintiff, is now right at a defense lawyer’s fingertips on the internet. Happy photos (regardless of how much pain a person may be in) have been used against a plaintiff who is trying to recover money for pain and suffering due to an accident. Vacation photos have been used to show the person is able to get around regardless of whether they actually are mobile.
Since social media is relatively new territory, the courts have few hard and fast rules as to what can and can’t be brought into evidence in a case involving personal injury. Even if your settings on Facebook are private, it’s at the court’s discretion whether to allow the defense to bring certain photos into evidence.
Here are some very important steps to protect your privacy if you are involved in a personal injury lawsuit:
- Stop posting photos of yourself on any social media platform.
- Google yourself. See what images come up. Make sure you remove or set to “private” anything that you don’t want out there.
- Contact friends and family and make sure they don’t tag you in any photos. It would be best if they didn’t post photos of you at all.
- Don’t mention anything about your injury on social media.
- Make sure you know everyone who is requesting to be your “friend” on Facebook or asking to follow you on Instagram. An unknown on any of these platforms could be someone trying to gain access to view your private account.
Today, social media has made it much easier for the defense to paint a picture that can dilute your case and drastically decrease the compensation you deserve by law for your injuries.
If you have been seriously injured, it is critical to engage a qualified attorney early on in the process to make sure the proper steps are taken to protect your privacy and lead you successfully through the legal process.