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Social Media and Personal Injury Cases

Social media has, for better or worse, altered the lives of many Americans today. While it certainly has its uses—such as providing a forum to connect with old friends and keep in touch with distant family members—it can be a minefield for those who are in the middle of, or anticipating, a trial for a personal injury. Here are some things to keep in mind before you post your next status update or a photo of yourself standing on the top of a mountain.

What you post can come back to haunt you

If you have been injured and even think you may be filing a lawsuit, it’s best to walk away from the keyboard. Posting comments, photos, or a status update can come back to haunt you. It used to be that an insurance company disputing an injury claim had to hire an investigator to shadow the allegedly harmed person. No longer. With the advent of social media, many plaintiffs are derailing their own cases before the ink on the pleadings is even dry.
If you are claiming a back injury, think again before posting a comment about your newest weightlifting record. Or, if you claim to have twisted your ankle, perhaps it’s best to refrain from checking in from the middle of your weekend wilderness hike.

Even if you are legitimately injured and have a good explanation for those selfies, perception is everything to a jury. For better or worse, this is the reality of personal injury litigation, and you should refrain from doing anything to harm your case.

Private no longer means private

Don’t think that just because your profile is set to private you can post without fear of repercussions. The opposition can gain access to your private account via a court order. Here’s a good rule of thumb: if you don’t want it in front of the jury, don’t post it. Period.

Other people can sink your case

Others can repost what you have posted. This means that selfie on the beach during a time you claim you were in too much pain to move can come back to sink your case even if the opposition never bothers to get a court order to access your account.

While social media is a great way to keep in touch, remember to post with caution. And, above all else, never post anything about your case until it’s over and done with. And perhaps not even then.