Social Networking Posts May be Used Against You in a Lawsuit
Social Networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and MySpace have become extremely popular. Many people post things to their accounts without thinking about how others that are not part of their social network may interpret the information.
There have been many news accounts about how dumb comments or revealing photographs have caused people their jobs. However, what people do not realize is that their posts and photographs can also cause them to lose their personal injury lawsuits.
It has become routine for lawyers defending Tampa personal injury cases to check all the social networking sites to see what personal injury victims have posted to the public portion of their account. Occasionally, the information discovered demonstrates the person was faking their injuries. Most of the time, however, the information seems harmless enough to the average viewer. The problem is that what seems harmless to the account holder can be made to look like much more by the defense lawyer. For example, photographs of the injured person out drinking at a bar can be taken out of context to suggest the person’s injury is not as severe as they claim.
Unfortunately, the privacy settings on social networking sites may not help protect the information from being discovered. Defense lawyers in Tampa are now beginning to ask the personal injury lawyers representing injured people to print out and produce copies of all pages that are marked private. Objecting to producing the information may not prevent them from getting the information. The defense attorney has the right to ask the judge to overrule the objection. While the judge may not require all private information to be produced, many judges are requiring production of at least some of the private information.
Some lawyers have suggested that personal injury victims suspend their accounts during the pendency of their claim. This of course solve the problem. However, for many, that solution is simply not practical. Therefore, for those that must post while pursuing an injury case, there are some simple steps you should take. Basically, you should think before you post. Put yourselves in the shoes of a potential juror that does not know you. After you type something read it over to make sure it does not make you look dishonest or less injured than you claim. View the pictures you are about to post in a similar manner. If the information could be presented to a juror out of context to harm your case, do not post it.