Social media sites have dramatically altered the way people communicate with each other. As a result, social media is increasingly playing a role in personal injury lawsuits. Thus, if you have been injured by the negligence of another party, it is important to consider how your social media accounts could impact your lawsuit.
Insurance companies and other potentially liable parties have previously hired private investigators to investigate the legitimacy of claims. If the investigator obtained an incriminating photo or other form of evidence proving the claim was fraudulent, it was a victory. With the use of social media, investigations can be done simply by surfing the Internet.
Consider the following: A plaintiff that has sued for a back injury posts photos of him playing golf or water-skiing the weekend before trial. If those posts are open to the public to view, the defense counsel will use them against the plaintiff. In fact, posts, photos, tweets and other evidence from social media accounts may be discoverable in certain cases. This means that your social media history during the relevant period of the injury being claimed can be reviewed by the defense team. Anything on your social media accounts that incriminate you going back months, even years, could be used against you.
It is unlikely that the courts will allow an overly broad request for social media discovery. In other words, opposing counsel cannot do a “fishing expedition” to uncover evidence against the plaintiff. However, a narrowly drafted discovery request that is limited in time and scope related to the incident is likely to be granted, especially if there is suspicion surrounding the claimed injury.
What is the moral of this story? If you are a party to a lawsuit, you should be extremely careful in what you post to your social media accounts. Once information is disclosed to the public on the Internet, it is no longer privileged or protected by any right of privacy, even if you have privacy settings established.
If you have been involved in an accident, you need an attorney to protect your best interests. At Murphy & Garner, LLC, we have over 32 years of experience serving clients in western Georgia and the surrounding area. We will fight for your rights and get you the compensation you deserve. Call us today for a free consultation at 866-942-0552 or 678-563-1584.