In an injury lawsuit, your social media posts will resurface
Did you know that all of your posts, whether private or deleted, will be provided by Facebook, Instagram, and your other social media providers if they receive a subpoena? True!
Deleting or making your posts private after the incident is not helpful. If, after the defense attorney presents hundreds of posts that contradict your case, and the posts that you have given your attorney are a heavily edited fraction of those, then your case goes from bad to worse. The defense attorney then can say, “Your Honor, the Plaintiff is clearly making an effort to mislead you.”
Social media best practices
I have two sons and I’d like to share the advice I give to them: the internet is forever.
Let’s forget we’re talking about this from the perspective of lawsuits for a second.
Spamming the world with images of your life and each and every humble brag, is in my own opinion, a questionable practice. There are many things you may wish your 875 friends to know about you and be able to celebrate with you, and social media is wonderful for all of the opportunities for personal and professional connection that it offers.
However, if you wouldn’t want your news made public in screenshots or trials, consider sharing the old fashioned way through direct texts or emails to people who really will be interested.
During your case, it’s best to pause your social media accounts anyway. You can read more about that and my other tips on Do’s and Don’ts of a Personal Injury Lawsuit.
Consider worst case scenarios with your social accounts:
Your Future Lawsuit
There’s no way to know if you will find yourself in an injury lawsuit months or a year from now.
What if you take a wonderful vacation to Costa Rica and in a surfing accident, hurt your neck badly? You post about it. You make a full recovery, and three years later, through no fault of your own, you have been rear-ended and have whiplash and associated neck injuries. Your current injuries are real and valid, but that won’t stop the defense from making a good case that you were previously had a neck injury, and your symptoms are a result of that rather than the car crash.
Did every detail from your surfing vacation need to be posted? Probably not.
Your Current Lawsuit
By the time I meet with a client and have googled them, so has their insurance company’s defense attorneys.
Sometimes justice is served quickly, all because of someone’s bad judgment in their posting. Like the case of the couple who posted themselves drinking all day at a theme park and then caused an 8-car-pile-up. My client received a very good settlement thanks to the evidence the day-drinkers provided. It works the other way, too. Sometimes it’s very clear to me – and anyone else with a working connection – that an injury can’t be very bad if the victim was wakeboarding all day long on his social media accounts even if he is limping on his way to my office.
I’d like to think the advice I give to my sons should work for everyone. Less is more, and the internet is forever.