The majority of people today actively engage in some form of social media, such as Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. Although social media is a great way of keeping in touch with family and friends, it is easy to forget that everything we post enters the public domain. And once that happens, anyone can view your posts, photos, and videos, including those that may be incriminating should you be going through the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit in Atlanta, Georgia.
It makes logical sense that when a financially damaging claim is made against someone else, they will try to use whatever evidence is available to them to substantiate their side of the personal injury lawsuit. Easy access to social media accounts that are only restricted by a few privacy settings makes the practice of the defendant using evidence gathered from these networks in court very commonplace these days. As such, it is important for those filing a personal injury lawsuit to learn how their social media posts could potentially be used against them and what they can do to protect themselves.
What Kind Of Social Media Evidence Can There Be Used in Personal Injury Lawsuits?
Social media can provide a defendant in a personal injury lawsuit with a lot of evidence. As an example, say someone is in a car accident, and they sue the person they feel is responsible. The plaintiff could claim in their injury case that they were no longer able to participate in their favorite hobby, windsurfing, as a direct result of the accident. If a particularly aggressive defendant in a personal injury case were to look on the plaintiff’s Facebook profile and have evidence of them clearly enjoying windsurfing after the date of the accident, it would serve to have the personal injury claim dismissed.
In another example, if you slipped and fell on a wet floor in a local shop, you could file a personal injury lawsuit if they did not set up a “wet floor” sign. You can request that the store owner pays for any medical expenses as part of your personal injury lawsuit. However, if you decide to suffer through the pain and play a game of basketball with your niece, and she tags you in an image of the game, then that could be used against you in court. The defendant would then claim that you have exaggerated the extent of your injuries.
As you can see, whether you post something yourself or if a friend tags you in a photo that you were not aware of, that could spell trouble for your case. The main issue with social media is that it is neither protected nor privileged by any right of privacy and that means you have to be extremely cautious when posting online if you are involved in a personal injury claim. Even the most innocent looking pictures can create the wrong impression to a court, and so it’s probably better to completely avoid posting at all until your personal injury lawsuit has been concluded.
Why Does Social Media Hurt a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
The biggest problem with social media platforms is also what makes them so popular. People enjoy sharing and often oversharing personal things, feelings, and experiences, sometimes with little concern for their own security. In the process, they sometimes can reveal sensitive information without even realizing it. Social media posts are intensely personal and can reveal the kind of information that you wouldn’t necessarily impart to strangers, and yet strangers may have easy access to it. Naturally, if you’re involved in a personal injury case, that information could be crucial to the success – or failure – of your claim.
Social media posts are increasingly being used in court as evidence, and in particular, personal injury lawsuits. That’s because your social behavior and activity after an accident or incident are relevant to the personal injury case. If the defendant’s attorney has any reason to doubt your claim, they have an open invitation to use whatever information is available to them to combat your arguments in the personal injury lawsuit. The difficulty from the plaintiff’s point of view is that clients do not realize the extent to which the information they post can be spun or twisted to negate their claim.
Seek Guidance on Social Media Use During Personal Injury Lawsuits at Bethune Law of Atlanta, Georgia
If you have been involved in an accident and have the intention of seeking legal recourse to compensate you for your injury, your first step should be to seek legal counsel. It’s easy to think that going through your social media accounts and deleting anything potentially incriminating is the best way forward, whereas the opposite can often be true. You do not want to be accused of hiding evidence in a case. To make sure you make the best decisions for your personal injury lawsuit, reach out to Bethune Law of Atlanta, Georgia to discuss the details of your case.