Social media is everywhere we turn. We have Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and dozens of more sites that we can turn to for up to the minute news and updates on family and friends. So what impact has social media had on the law? In this article, we will look at how social sites can affect personal injury law cases.
It is part of our human tendencies to share things. And sometimes, we could be sharing too much.
Many people don't stop to think about what they are sharing on open social media sites such as Facebook. You probably want to share your latest news with family and friends. That may be good news such as a promotion at work, or a new baby on the way. However, people tend to also share the not-so-good things that are happening in their lives, such as their home being broken into or the car accident they were in. While we maintain the right to speak freely on social media sites, you may want to think about what you are posting and who may see it now, or in the future.
Perhaps you posted images of your car, after a drunk driver smashed it and yourself. Months may have passed since the accident, but you are still in litigation with the person who hit you. You may have chosen to spend an afternoon sitting in the hot tub with your friends, when one of them snaps a picture of you and posts in on their Facebook page. While this may seem innocent enough, once that drunk driver's attorney gets a hold of that image, your case may come to an abrupt ending. Though you may have true injuries, that image of you being with others, in the water, may be misconstrued by others.
Sounds silly, right? Well, it is silly - but that doesn't mean it couldn't potentially hurt you. You trying to relax injured muscles in the hot tub might be viewed as you being well enough to spend an afternoon at a water park. This is terrible news for you, being the injured party. However, to the person who hit you, and their law team, this is a win. This is just one example of how social media has helped and hindered people during their personal injury case. Social media has opened the doors to our private lives. While posts, images and sharing may be enjoyable, use caution in your posting.
Moral of the story: be careful out there in cyberspace. If you are questioning whether you should post something, chances are you shouldn't be posting it in the first place.
St Louis Injury Lawyer Ben Sansone's comments on this article:
The above example, of a picture of you in a hot tub trying to relieve muscle pain being misconstrued as you being healthy and having fun, is a real serious issue for some personal injury claimants. Maybe it's a picture of you hanging out with your softball team, they will claim you are playing sports. One I have seen several times are hunting pictures, the driver's lawyer finds a picture of you with a trophy deer online all of a sudden you are now accused of not being hurt because you can climb into a tree stand and deer hunt. Of course you can explain these pictures to a jury, but why allow the issue come up in the first place? Some jurors are looking for any reason not to award money to personal injury claimants, don't give them an excuse.
A typical defense tactic is to call you a malingerer (a faker), but they will do it in a very nice and polite way, but the accusation is the same. Social media posts showing you having fun, on vacations, doing physical activities, and the like will be used against you. I know, just because you are hurt does not mean you should not take your family on the at annual family vacation, I agree! however the insurance defense lawyers will argue otherwise and it will distract a jury.
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