Were You Injured in an Accident? Stay Off Facebook
Sharing our lives with the world has never been easier… or more entertaining. Smartphones and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram make it simple to tell the world where we’re going, what we’re eating, what we’re watching and how we’re feeling. But all this sharing can have its drawbacks. We’re not just talking about privacy issues. The stuff you share on social media can come back to haunt you in the court of law.
Social Media and The Law
Just ask Kathleen Romano.
Fifteen years ago, Romano was at work at her clerical job at a New York medical center when her chair collapsed. She sued the chair’s manufacturer, Steelcase, Inc., claiming the chair was defective and her fall had caused serious, permanent injuries. The chair company subpoenaed Romano’s social media records, including pages she had designated as private. They argued that her social media posts on Facebook and MySpace showed a woman with an active lifestyle, which conflicted with her claims about her injuries. Romano said Steelcase had violated her privacy, but New York’s Supreme Court eventually sided with the chairmaker, saying that her privacy concerns were outweighed by the defense’s need to gain information for their case.
As the court put it:
“Thus, when Plaintiff created her Facebook and MySpace accounts, she consented to the fact that her personal information would be shared with others, notwithstanding her privacy settings.
Indeed, that is the very nature and purpose of these social networking sites else they would cease to exist.”
We aren’t saying Steelcase had caught Kathleen Romano in a lie. Very few personal injury plaintiffs exaggerate their injuries.
But we also know that the things you post online can affect your life offline, whether you’re up for a new job or trying to prove a personal injury case in court.
Social Media After an Accident
That’s why we want to share a few tips for using social media after an accident:
- Google yourself. This can tell you what the defense’s attorneys will uncover when they look into your background (and they will look into your background). If you find something that seems damning, talk to your lawyer.
- Don’t share details about the accident. No photos, no videos, no responses to other people’s comments.
- Take down older posts that an insurance company could use against you. For example, if you posted about your back hurting in the days before you were hurt in a car accident, they could point to this as proof that the crash didn’t cause your back pain.
- Boost your privacy settings. It may not completely stop others from seeing your information, but it can limit access to older posts that can hurt your case.
- Be careful about what your friends post about you. If they tag you in certain photos – say, a picture of you dancing at a party in the weeks following an injury – it can harm your case.
Personal Injury Attorney New Orleans
If you need someone to speak for you after an accident that’s left you injured, The King Firm can help. Our lawyers have spent years working with clients who have been hurt in car, truck and motorcycle crashes, and focus on building a strong case while you recover. Contact us today. We’ll be your voice.