Posting photos of your daughter’s birthday party or sharing a status about your latest trip to the beach may seem innocent, but this can all be used against you in a personal injury trial. While there are laws to prevent opposing lawyers from prying into your private life, plaintiffs often underestimate how online information can be used against them. If you are seeking compensation in a personal injury trial follow these 6 steps to ensure the best possible outcome of your case:
- Do not immediately delete your accounts or posts. If the opposing attorney proves there was incriminating information in your profile, a judge will frown upon your spoliation of the evidence. Always consult a lawyer before doing anything with your account.
- Download all account information for your files. Facebook, email accounts and other platforms allow you to download and print all historical activity for your records. If the defendant presents or threatens to have evidence that would harm your case it is helpful if you have hard copies of the evidence.
- Know your privacy settings. Information broadcasted on social media is not considered private by the judicial system. If you limit access to your profile the defendant will have the difficult task of proving there is enough relevant evidence in your account to be granted a subpoena. Ensure all privacy settings on your profile are enabled to inhibit information being used against you.
- Do not post about your whereabouts. You probably understand why you shouldn’t post a photo of your latest 5k after a car accident; however, you may think it’s ok to post about your location. Any information about your activity and location can be used to damage your claim.
- Do not accept friend requests. During a case be careful who you let see your profile. Do not accept friend requests from anyone you do not know. And do not send requests to anyone involved in your case.
- Do not post about your case. You may innocently want to update your family about your case via Facebook. Do not post any information about your trial or settlement online. Posting opinions or facts about your case can be extremely harmful to your situation.
The best way to avoid your online activities being used against you is to refrain from posts, photos and web communication during litigation. Take some time to sift through your online information, even Google yourself, to identify what information about you is discoverable online. Any profile; LinkedIn, MySpace, blog and even your Pinterest board can end up in court. Opposing attorneys will often use the information to negotiate a lower settlement during mediation. Take extreme caution and talk to an attorney when dealing with social media.
At Broussard & Hart we leave no stone unturned in your case. We want you to get the settlement you deserve. If you have questions about social media please call us. Our office is available 24/7 to answer your questions.