When bringing a personal injury claim, it is important to consider that many private aspects of your life will not remain private. Many insurance defense firms, private investigators, and defendants search and comb through social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. During the discovery phase of any litigation, most courts will allow the Defense to go through your Instagram, Facebook, and other social network accounts. Just one photograph or video may be taken out of context and destroy or lower the amount of monies awarded.
Recently, a woman who brought a personal injury case in Gwinnett County, Georgia tweeted about her travels and partying during the course of her case. As a result the jury lowered their damages award. The woman, a victim of a car accident, claimed that the injuries she sustained to her arm as a result of the car accident and she was unable to perform her job duties as a hairstylist. However, the Defense attorney provided tweets and pictures of the Plaintiff having fun in New Orleans with her friends and enjoying spring break on the beach. The Plaintiff asked for $1.1 million for her injuries and received $142,000.
What is the insurance and defense attorney looking for in Social Networks?:
- Pictures of you having fun, showing that you have not been injured, and that you have returned to your normal routine;
- Videos of you performing acts that you now claim you have difficulty with or cannot do;
- Statements regarding the incident or accident;
- Potential friends to interview and depose;
- To catch you in a lie to damage
If you are involved in any type of legal matter, including a personal injury case here are a list of tips when using social networks:
- If you can live without Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. CLOSE DOWN YOUR ACCOUNT. This will be the safest way that you will ensure that you will not damage your case;
- Set your settings as private as possible;
- Ask your friends and family to not tag you in any posts or photographs;
- Do not discuss any aspects of your case on these social networking site;
- Do not “check-in” anywhere.
In fact, many insurers are not trying to challenge liability as must as causation and whether the victim has a permanent injury.
The Miami based attorneys at Jeffrey R. Davis, P.A. are experienced personal injury attorneys who understand the techniques used by defense attorneys and insurances. The use of social media is just one of the ways that the other side will try to lower the damages awarded to a victim of another’s negligence. If you or a loved have been injured because of the negligence of another, contact us for a free consultation to discuss your potential case.