Social Media and Your Injury Claim

BY GEORGE M. STARK, P.A.

Gaining in popularity as a “cool” form of communication for teenagers, the use of social media has exploded. “Facebook” and “Twitter” are now second only to the telephone, as a means of interpersonal communication.

Now, rather than call a friend or relative, people of every age and background are posting their life experiences on social media for their “friends” and relatives to view. This, of course, saves time and allows your cyber “family” to keep up with you. However, in the event that you have an injury claim, it also permits other interested people, including insurance investigators and defense lawyers, to gain access to your posting activities, and use them against you in court.

The use of information obtained from social media in court has become a major source of controversy, as the courts grapple with questions regarding the type of information that can be obtained through social media, and how it may be used in court.

Recently, the courts in Florida have permitted people in litigation to gain access to Facebook postings, as long as the information which is sought is relevant, and likely to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. So, it is important for personal injury claimants to understand that posted pictures of themselves partying or having fun, may wind up being used by the other side in litigation, whether or not they provide a fair or accurate assessment of their physical condition.

Certainly, our firm does not suggest that an injured client who utilizes social media should discontinue its use or alter his or her lifestyle to create a false impression regarding the nature and extent of his or her injuries. However, one should be aware of the reality that social media postings may be obtained in legal proceedings, and then construed or characterized by defense counsel to show that the client’s injury claim is lacking in merit.

We recommend that our clients use common sense and discretion when posting on social media.

Care should be taken to not post pictures or detail physical activities on social media that are not truly representative of one’s activities of daily living. To do so may result in the jury drawing wrong conclusions about a personal injury claimant, as being less than honest, thereby affecting the claimant’s credibility.

Published on: Jun 2, 2016