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The Impact of Social Media in the Personal Injury Context

There have been a number of articles written over the years pertaining to the impact of social media upon various types of legal actions. For instance, in the employment law context, over-sharing of certain disdains for those in authority can quickly lead to a prompt dismissal. Along the same lines, employees have found themselves on the losing end of a wrongful termination suit upon introduction of Instagram evidence that a certain “sick day” was actually a day at the beach.

Social media has also found its way into the personal injury context. If you are considering a personal injury action, be very wary of what you post on your accounts. The most innocent status update or seemingly meaningless Twitter post can suddenly derail your case in a way you never intended, and the following article will provide greater detail into the unfortunate collision of social networking and civil litigation defense. To get a better feel of your social media limitations or to learn how to best prepare for your upcoming case, contact Nelson C. Barry right away.

Evidence of Injury

As we all know, nearly every social media outlet permits the posting of pictures to a user’s account. As you scroll through your news feed, you undoubtedly recognize the recent photographic inundation of people’s dinner plates, workout data or toes in the sand. While innocent at first, each of these images could point to a potential fatal flaw should any of these posters be entangled in an ongoing personal injury case.  It seems like a stretch, but with what we know about how Facebook and other tech companies are accessing and sharing our information, it seems like we need an encrypted cloud-based file-sharing system like SpiderOak to tell our friends about lunch.

With regard to the person who so relentlessly feels the need to share their dinner each night, imagine if he or she were claiming personal injury along with relief known as “loss of consortium.” This concept, which is available in California, refers to possible money damages a spouse can recover in the event his partner is unable to continue contributing to household duties like childcare, cleaning or, you guessed it, preparing meals. If the plaintiff is seeking money damages under this doctrine, the defendant’s attorney could possibly present these pictures as evidence that plaintiff is not, in fact, too injured to cook. It may not derail your entire case, but it could cause a significant reduction in the damages your family would have received.

The second example involves those who over-share photos of their pedometers and treadmill results, which can obviously lead to a finding the plaintiff is not injured, or at least not to the extent advanced in the complaint. A personal injury plaintiff claiming to be too injured to walk, go to work or continue with daily life may find himself in an uphill battle against his most recent marathon finish line picture, and should take caution to avoid sharing any evidence of physical exertion on public social media sites.

Lastly: the vacation pictures. Even if you are posting pictorials of your pervasive vacation laziness, just getting on a plane and flying somewhere, particularly somewhere relatively far away, could provide the defense with fodder to deflate your injury claim. As well, juries are much more sympathetic to a victim who truly portrays the role; not one globetrotting posting selfies in front of the Eiffel Tower.

Contact a personal injury attorney to better understand your rights

Social media can be a great way to connect with friends and share the goings-on of your life. However, it can also severely damage your case and result in a possible reduction of damages or dismissal of your claims. For more information about how to avoid these pitfalls, contact Nelson C. Barry today.

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