Over the past decade, the rapid growth of wireless internet technology and social media outlets has taken communication to a whole new level. Social media has helped a huge number of businesses grow and has made it easier for individuals to share information instantaneously. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or another platform, each of these outlets have many benefits.
The ease of communication that social media provides also has its drawbacks, however, especially when it comes to litigation related to personal injury. Posts on social media become public information. Photos, videos, or even simple words that are put on social media have the potential to wreak havoc on the chances of winning a personal injury case.
Though it’s important to be cautious with what we put on the internet at all times, it is especially crucial to proceed with caution throughout the process of a lawsuit. If something that an individual puts on social media can be used to argue that their injury is not actually affecting them in the way they are claiming, even if it’s taken out of context, it is a safe bet to say that the defense will use it.
Being involved in an accident can result in many undesirable symptoms – both physical and emotional. These may include agonizing pain when walking or back issues that compromise your quality of life. In order to prove that you’ve suffered personal injury as a result of someone else’s actions, it is best not to provide the defense with any evidence (like social media posts) that suggests that you are not suffering as much as you claim to be.
In the case of malpractice or surgery issues, persistent or permanent injury can be grounds for a large settlement. In some instances, it is easier to prove human error or negligence on the part of a medical professional than something more subjective such as emotional trauma. Still, it never hurts to think twice before putting anything on social media.
A Wealth of Information
In the past, opposing counsel has only had access to public records and other limited forms of information. Their lack of access to certain information heightened the chances of an injured party’s legal team winning their case. However, in most cases, social media is now considered public information and is an outlet to quickly and easily express one’s emotions. Even if a post gets deleted, it remains in cyberspace, so to speak. A spur of the moment decision to post might end up being the support the defense needs to overturn your personal injury claim.
Clear and Costly Proof
Postings which show a supposedly injured individual freely moving about, engaging in vigorous physical activity (dancing, for example) severely undermine one’s credibility. In the case of PTSD, claims of emotional damage may be denied in light of photographs or video showing the defendant in a festive mood. One could argue that individual social media posts may be taken out of context and therefore not fully understood, but unfortunately, it may be difficult for prosecutors to see past “evidence” that appears to contradict a personal injury claim.
Making Friends Aware
Even if a defendant doesn’t have an account of any kind or posts rarely, it’s important to make sure that friends that do use social media are made aware that they would rather not be mentioned or photographed in any manner on their posts. Friends should also be cautious with what they post not only to protect the defendant but to protect themselves. Legal claims have been denied on the basis of information discovered on other people’s accounts.
Better to Be Safe Than Sorry
The simplest way to avoid having this type of situation destroy a personal injury case is to avoid any temptation to post on social media during the span of the case. Doing so can be of major financial benefit since it eliminates the possibility of the defendant making it any easier for the defense to win the case.
If you are considering filing a personal injury lawsuit, we encourage you to take time to find an experienced, reputable lawyer. At Tate Law Group, we deal with personal injury cases all the time and are more than happy to help guide our clients through the lawsuit process and to ensure they get what they deserve after experiencing a personal injury. To contact us, call (912) 234-3030 or click here. We look forward to hearing from you!