Social media is increasingly being used in litigation. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media can be used against you in your personal injury legal case in Nova Scotia.
Can Social Media Be Used as Evidence?
With increasing frequency, Facebook evidence is being admitted to court. The information is easily accessible and often public, making it easy for insurance companies to find. Your entire account can be requested by the opposing lawyer, in which case your privacy settings may not protect you. What this means is that the defense could review the information you posted and use it as evidence against you.
The most common Facebook content used in personal injury cases includes photos, status updates, and private messages. The defense may want to explore past Facebook posts to uncover your character, the types of risks you took leading up to the accident, and any pre-existing injuries that could be argued not to be causing your current pain. The defense will also be interested to see the activities you engaged in after your accident, and any posts or comments made about your accident. Such information can be used to unfairly draw conclusions about you or your case before all the evidence is collected. Such information can overshadow and negatively impact other evidence as well.
How Can Your Facebook Profile Harm Your Case?
You should be careful when you post to your Facebook profile, even if you are not involved in a personal injury case. Avoid posting any photos of you acting carefree, irresponsibly, or illegally as such information could be used against you in future. Everyone has a cell phone, a computer and, most likely, at least one social media account, so there are plenty of avenues on which to cross lines with far-reaching effects.
Information posted online after your personal injury is of greatest concern. If you report particular injuries in your lawsuit and then post yourself engaging in activities that either put you at risk, would be impossible under the circumstances, or could exacerbate your injuries, your legal case could suffer. Such photos would make the injuries appear non-existent or less impactful than claimed. Such photos could also be used against you in an examination for discovery.
Other ways in which your case could also be negatively impacted by social media include biased or inappropriate jokes or comments about others, and sending tweets at inappropriate times (e.g., from the court room or when driving). Further, it would also be inappropriate timing to “friend” or attempt to friend certain parties during the case such as the opposing side, his or her counsel, or independent experts for your case. The appearance of extra-friendly relations or unauthorized access to information could be problematic even if nothing inappropriate has gone on.
What Should You Do?
Be careful of how you use social media, especially if you are involved in litigation. Do not consider anything you post to be private. Imagine the defense counsel and trial judge as being part of your audience. Be careful of what you “like” online and the invitations you accept.
Remove old and new photos and updates that could be used against you. Google yourself and seek to have any content or pictures or videos removed that could be harmful to your case. Information on the internet that is deleted is not the same as destroying evidence but it will prevent the information from being visible.
Monitor your account and do not let friends post anything about you. Social media can be quite damaging to a personal injury case. If you have concerns or questions about the use of social media in personal injury law or wish to speak to a lawyer about your case, our lawyers at CLG Injury Law can help. Call us at 1-800-606-2529.