If you’re undergoing litigation in a personal injury claim, chances are your social media activity is not at the forefront of your thoughts-but it should be. Not just a game changer in the dating world, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube are the new surveillance tools of the modern courtroom paradigm.
Personal injury surveillance: That was then
Before social media, once you’d given a statement under oath, detailing what you could no longer do physically as a result of injuries sustained in the accident in question, the opposing lawyer would hire a surveillance expert. This person would then follow you around attempting to catch you in the act of doing something you said you couldn’t.
But due to cost, it wasn’t a practice that was done very often. Fast forward to now…
Personal injury surveillance: This is now
According to personal injury lawyer Mark Streed, social media has changed all that. “Social media can be the surveillance expert. Learning the hard way, we really stress to our clients early on, do not use social media to talk about the crash, your injuries. Try not to post yourself doing any activity. Even innocent activity can sometimes be captured and be portrayed [negatively]. A picture can paint and speak a thousand words-so just be cognizant of that because it can really backfire on you.”
Big Brother is watching
For example, “. . .saying that the most I can walk or be on my feet is ten or twenty minutes before my back starts killing me and then there’s a posting of you and your friends at the top of Mt. McKinley after hiking up the mountain. [That’s] probably not a good idea-probably indicative that maybe your claim isn’t as strong as you claim it to be.”
If you’re reading this and realizing you may already have posted some things to your social media that may be used against you, speak to your lawyer about it before taking action. Trying to cover up or delete such postings often leads to worse trouble, especially if you’re caught. It also violates a legal concept called spoliation of evidence.
If you, or a loved one, have been injured in an accident, it is very important to see a doctor immediately to document your injuries in a medical record. If you believe the accident occurred due to another’s negligence, contact Meshbesher & Spence for a consultation with our personal injury attorneys. Our attorneys are available to visit you in the hospital or in your home as well as in our offices, and will help you determine if you will be able to recover damages for your injuries.
For over 27 years, attorney Mark Streed has effectively served his clients as lawyer advocate, trusted adviser and counselor. He specializes in personal injury, traumatic brain injury, slip and fall accident, and truck accident cases.