Do’s and Don’ts of a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Patient: “It hurts when I move like this…”

Doctor: “Well, don’t move like that.”

For those who have had a recent injury, that is some of the hardest advice to follow. Just like phantom limbs have a life of their own, tendons and joints and disks that were once fine forget that they are not.

I know of a woman who was hit by a truck while she stood on the sidewalk, and has suffered years of rehab and surgery. While she was living in an apartment, within the first year of the accident, an investigator took a photo of her cleaning her window with her bad arm. That photo was of course used by the defense attorney against her. What wasn’t shown, was that after she first started wiping the Windex off the pane, she dropped the towel and picked it up with her good arm to finish the job.

If you are in the middle of a lawsuit, it’s important to understand that the more your case is worth, the more likely it is that you have strange people cyber stalking and following you. You can’t stop living your life, and I would never encourage any of my clients to do that. However, there are a few steps you can take to make sure that you maintain your privacy during this time and don’t sabotage yourself.

    • Temporarily deactivate or make your social media accounts private. The opposing counsel will probably use any evidence of you having a good time and living life normally against you, if they are given the opportunity. How much pain can you really be in if you’re smiling? I wish I was joking. By pausing or temporarily deactivating your accounts, this prevents well-meaning friends from tagging you in public photos. It’s a lot easier than going to each of your twenty best friends and explaining to them that you no longer wish to be tagged in anything. You can always resume your accounts when you wish. *Social media is considered evidence, and you may not delete your accounts or photographs. You can make everything private, however. It may be up to the judge to decide if your private or deactivated account should be brought in as evidence in your case.
    • Here’s another tip – change your name on your social media accounts to nicknames, or first and middle. Some of my clients have been absolutely shocked to see what shows up when we google their name.
    • …But you may have to have that tagging conversation with a few of your friends. You know who. The people who will try to spell out your first and last name in their public post, whether or not they can actually tag you. Because it would be sad if they didn’t properly credit you enjoying brunch.
    • As Mom always said, don’t talk to strangers. It may be coincidental that there’s a woman at your door trying to sell you something, asking you if you’d like to fill out a survey, or parked out on your curb, “just checking my email before I have to go pick up my kids.” Without being too paranoid, it doesn’t hurt to keep your distance. There are plenty of people who fake injuries and these people are hired to expose them. You’re not one of those people, but that doesn’t mean that someone who has been hired to assume the worst won’t try to do their job.
    • Keep your blinds closed.
    • Don’t talk about your case with anyone. Especially people who are calling you directly to discuss details. Refer them to your lawyer.
    • Don’t miss your appointments. How seriously are you injured if you just forgot your doctor’s appointment? If you have to reschedule for any reason, leave a paper