You post it all. You are one of those people who feel compelled to share — every thought in your head, meal you eat, movie you see, and article you read is documented online. In fact, you announce your activities with such regularity that it never occurs to you to keep some things to yourself at certain times. But you should if you are involved in a personal injury lawsuit. Your status updates and other posts can be used against you in court.
Calculating Damages: Social Media Can Damage Your Case
When you sue someone for injury due to their negligence and claim damages, you will most likely also seek compensation not only for your expenses but for your pain and suffering. It is difficult to quantify pain and suffering precisely, unlike medical bills, and the defense is always going to try to minimize these kinds of damages. Do not help them to prove you did not really suffer and will not in the future by providing evidence that you’re perfectly fine and having a great time.
For example, say you were injured in a car accident and have been having back problems. Your legal filings extensively document all the limitations on your mobility that the doctor has noted were caused by the accident. As part of your damages, you state that you can no longer enjoy the activities you once loved, like going to the gym or playing golf.
But your Facebook page has an extensive collection of photos showing you playing golf since the accident. There you are in Scotland and there you are in Florida, showing off your awesome swing. That online photo album can be used to contradict your claims of pain, suffering, and limitations on mobility.
As tempting as it may be to dream aloud or share your difficulties with friends and family online, try to avoid it. Your seemingly innocuous comment about what you plan to do with your injury case settlement money, for example, can be used to try to prove that your claims are inflated.
Your best bet is to remain circumspect online during the pendency of your case, and for some time after just to be safe. You can still express yourself, but be thoughtful. Do not say anything you would not want used against you in court.
Talk to a Lawyer
If you have been injured in an accident or any other context and believe it was due to the negligence of another, speak to a lawyer. Many personal injury attorneys consult for free or a minimal fee and will be happy to talk.
- Have an injury claim? Get your claim reviewed for free. (Consumer Injury)
- First Steps in a Personal Injury Claim (FindLaw’s Learn About the Law)
- Meeting With an Attorney (FindLaw’s Learn About the Law)
- Take Incident and Injury Notes (FindLaw’s Learn About the Law)