In today’s world it is fairly common for most adults to use some kind of social media website. While there is much value to these websites, there can be some drawbacks. When it comes to personal injury lawsuits, it can be a hindrance to receiving the compensation that you deserve. One of the primary things a personal injury attorney will tell you when you commence a lawsuit is to be careful of your social media activity or discontinue using it at all.
While many people tend to share their entire life online, this may become evidence that can be used against you in a personal injury lawsuit. In some instances, plaintiffs in a personal injury lawsuit have posted information on social media that put the facts of the case into doubt. Additionally, the comments of family and friends can be used as evidence the accident did not occur the way you stated it did. It is important to realize that at some point in the personal injury process you will most likely have to testify at a deposition. Any social media activity will likely be brought up at the deposition or at trial in order to discredit your testimony.
Additionally, many services allow you to check-in at certain locations. This could be detrimental to your case. A check-in may be construed, accurately or not, as evidence that you are participating in activities that contradict the injuries that you are claiming. Defendants often can hire an investigator to investigate your online history or may demand that you turn over all social media activity. Failure to do so can result in your entire case being dismissed by a judge.
Like the above, pictures posted on the internet can be used to show activities that contradict your claimed injuries. There have been some instances where a plaintiff’s social media posts have been the difference between receiving compensation and having a jury deny their case in its entirety.
Even considering the above, some plaintiffs believe that they will be careful, and therefore, do not need to stop using social media platforms. The problem is that even while being careful, you may still provide evidence to the defense. You never know how the other side is going to use the evidence against you, and how they will attempt to twist your words and your posts. Trying to monitor your social media use is too risky when your recovery is on the line.
A personal injury action is complex to begin with. Social media activity can make your claim even more complex. If your online activity comes into question, you and your attorney may be forced to make more trips to the courthouse to fight whether or not you have to disclose your social media records. In fact, New York State courts have recently held that there is no social media privilege, and the other side can obtain the records if they meet the requisite proof of need. Therefore, the best advice is to stop using social media. Bear in mind though that it may not be proper nor effective to delete your posts once litigation is contemplated.
Regardless of your use of social media, an attorney experienced in personal injury will advise you on the best way to get the compensation you deserve. The attorneys at Levine & Slavit, PLLC have over 60 years of experience representing clients in personal injury actions. With law offices conveniently located in Long Island and New York City, Levine & Slavit, PLLC represents clients throughout Nassau County and Suffolk County as well as Manhattan, Staten Island, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call (888)-LAW-8088.