Social media has become extremely popular over the last 15 years to keep up with friends and family, meet new friends, and share details of our lives. What is often forgotten, however, is that a wide circle of people can see a Facebook page, Twitter account, or other social media profile. Some of these people do not have the best interests of the person posting, so users should be careful about what they share online. Once a post has been made, it cannot be deleted or else the insurance company may be entitled to tell the jury that you made a post about the case and deleted it because it showed you are not as injured as you are claiming.
Admissible in court
Courts now accept information shared on social media as evidence. Those who file a personal injury claim or worker’s compensation claim need to be aware of this, as do eyewitnesses. Defense attorneys or those handling disputes for insurance companies look for information online that contradicts what was put in writing or said in court. Examples include:
- A post that shows the user exercising despite their claim to be severely injured.
- Checking in via Facebook at a time and place that contradicts the details of where the person was coming from before the accident.
- Posting a video that presents assumptions or stories the person did not witness as fact.
These posts can lead to disputes over the severity of the injury, whether the injury took place on the job as claimed, or general attacks on the credibility of the injured person. If a jury or a judge discounts an injured person’s credibility on one issue, they may choose to discount that person’s credibility overall.
Easy tips for avoiding issues
It is always best to be honest about a claim. However, online comments can be misinterpreted and cause problems that lessen the compensation or needlessly complicate and extend the case. Some sensible precautions include:
- Avoid posting wherever possible.
- Never discuss the details of how an accident happened or how you were injured.
- Never discuss a case’s progress.
- Be mindful of pictures shared, when shared and where taken
It’s also worth noting that making a Facebook page available to “friends only” does not guarantee privacy.
It is best to be careful
Those injured, either while at work or going about their daily lives, serve their own best interests by discussing their use of social media with their attorneys so their attorney can give them guidelines that serve their interests. The attorneys at Goldstein, Ballen, O’Rourke & Wildstein, P.C. are aware of the impacts of social media use on a personal injury or workers’ compensation claim and are available to discuss the issue with our clients.