It seems like almost everyone is posting personal information on social media these days. In fact, over 75% of all Americans use social media. While having a smartphone on hand may allow us to take pictures and keep in touch with everyone that we have ever known, it also can cause unnecessary headaches in personal injury litigation. If you have been injured in the Los Angeles area and have concerns about how your social media account may hurt your case, call Citywide Law Group today for a free consultation.
Personal Injury Lawsuit an Adversarial Process
Claimants in a personal injury claim are usually seeking compensation for physical injuries, whether it be a broken bone, back pain, or a concussion. These types of claims usually seek compensation not just for past and future medical bills and care, but also for noneconomic damages like pain and suffering that you would not have experienced had you not been injured.
The claimant will have to provide evidence to the fact that he or she has indeed suffered these injuries. This will usually entail producing medical records, medical and scientific experts, specialists, witnesses to the incident, and friends and family who will testify to the fact that the claimant has been injured as claimed. The claimant’s attorney will assist him or her in this endeavor by helping present the evidence and substantiate the claimant’s case.
Unfortunately for the claimant, this is exactly what the defendant’s lawyer will be doing, as well. The job of the defendant’s attorney is to refute every claim that the claimant brings and this can be done in many ways. The defendant’s attorney will attempt to outright deny that you suffered any medical maladies. He or she will attempt to show that your injuries were caused by someone else. Failing to do that, he or she will attempt to mitigate the damages and try to show that they are not as severe as the claimant says they are. Every facet of a claim, whether it be for physical injuries, anxiety, depression, or loss of consortium will be questioned by those from whom a claimant is seeking compensation.
A Minefield of Evidence in Personal Injury Lawsuits
Lawyers used to have a limited source of evidence to dispute these claims, but with the advent of social media in the past decade they now have an almost unlimited amount of evidence that they can rely on to derail a plaintiff’s injury claim. Anything that you post on the internet is admissible in a court of law as it is a statement that is attributable to you.
Every Facebook post that you share, every blog that you write, and every photo that you share can potentially be used against you in your personal injury claim. Not only are all of these posts admissible, but they are easily packaged for the lawyer’s consumption. Each post is time stamped, with parties tagged as potential witnesses who could be called to testify against you. Locations are also usually provided and the description and comments can easily paint the post in a negative light for the claimant.
Social media offers the defense a cornucopia of evidence that can be used against a claimant. Every statement and every post, no matter how innocent, can have the potential of derailing a claim. At worst, social media posts can be used to completely dismiss the claim and at best they can provide a headache for the claimant’s lawyer when he or she attempts to explain them away.
Be Proactive and Protect Yourself
While it may be hard to unplug yourself from social media, it is always a good idea to limit what you do and say on the internet if you are involved in a personal injury suit. Specifically:
- Do not post anything about ongoing litigation or the accident that the litigation arises out of. These types of statements are prime targets for information that the opposition would like to have.
- Do not mention anything about your current health, recovery, or feelings about your health. Updates on your health could conflict with statements presented to the court and can be used against you.
- Do not post about past injuries. Alerting the other side to preexisting injuries, even minor ones that did not require a doctor’s visit, could derail your current claim.
- Increase your security settings. Do not let people you do not know view your personal information and block people who could potentially share private information that you do not want revealed.
- Find out what information is already out there on the internet and remove it if possible. If you cannot completely unhook yourself from social media, try to view your profile and information as it would be viewable from the public’s point of view. Perform a search of your name in a search engine like Google or Bing and see what comes up. If there is information out there that comes up in such a search, this means that the other side will easily be able to find it and you will want to know that.
Get Proper Guidance from a Trusted Attorney
Social media use has exploded in recent years and it is easy to see why. It can be a powerful tool for bringing people together and keeping people connected, but with all of its benefits we must acknowledge that there may be a downside of having so much information out there. Too much information in the wrong hands can be harmful for an innocent victim who is just trying to recover for his or her injuries.
Seeking to recover compensation for an injury is a difficult process. Without the proper guidance and skills it can seem like almost an impossible task. Call the personal injury attorneys at Citywide Law Group in Los Angeles today. They can help you avoid litigation pitfalls like this and provide you with the representation that you need. Call today at (424) 248-2700 or visit us online.