More than 69% of adults now rely on social media for some form of communication, according to the Pew Research Center. As more and more people turn to these digital platforms to share personal experiences, however, their posts are having unintended consequences — especially when it comes to the law.
If you’re getting ready to bring a personal injury lawsuit against someone else, it may be a good idea to log out of your social media accounts for a while. Although the laws around social media use are still constantly evolving, anything you share – even in private messages — could eventually come back to haunt you. This could reduce the amount of compensation you receive, and prevent you from fully recovering from your injuries in the long term.
What Can Actually Be Used Against Me in Court?
Not everything you post online may be technically admissible as evidence, but for the most part, anything you tweet, like, comment, post, or share on a public account will be considered as part of the broader “social domain.” It’s much more difficult for opposing lawyers to gain legal access to your private Facebook or Instagram account. However, if your friends have public accounts and share anything that casts you in a negative light, that could be considered fair game.
How Can Social Media Damage My Claim?
Once you file a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent party, the defense will be actively searching for evidence that your injuries are not as serious as you’ve claimed. While posting a single smiling selfie may not be a case-breaker, pictures that show you partying with friends or riding a bike can easily be used to cast doubt on your injuries.
This is especially true if you’re claiming damages for “pain and suffering,” as certain photos can make it harder for people to believe you’ve experienced intense emotional trauma. This was the case in recent case Largent v. Reed, where a teenager’s gym photo posts on her public Facebook were used to discredit her entire accident claim.
Additionally, everything you post online is time-stamped, which may allow the defense to counter claims about the timeline for your injuries. Posts about your doctor’s office trips, medical treatments, and symptoms can be cross-referenced with the dates mentioned in your formal personal injury claim.
Seek Compassionate Counsel Today
At Silbowitz, Garafola, Silbowitz & Schatz, L.L.P, our NYC injury lawyers understand that what you post on social media doesn’t always match up with the reality of what you’ve experienced. However, we also know how the “other side” will see your public profiles, and we can provide skilled counsel about any matters related to your social media presence.
With over 100 years of collective experience, we can help you navigate the often-confusing world of personal injury claims. Never backing down when people need help, we’ll act as your advocates and seek justice for your serious injuries.