More than 69% adults in the United States use social media today. Although most of these users tend to be young, usage by older adults has increased lately. Social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Snapchat are very popular with Facebook leading the way. Although, how much our social media reflects our real lives is hard to know, however, in today’s day and age an individual’s social media accounts are taken to be a true representation of their life, by most people. Your experiences, emotions, life events, interests and affiliations are all recorded once you put them on the Internet. This can be helpful as it’s a great way to share snippets of your life with loved ones and your professional network, however, it can potentially be damaging to your personal injury claim.
Social Media Accounts Can be Accessed by Defense Attorneys
Personal injury claims are usually filed if the plaintiff has suffered physical injury and/or emotional distress as a result of that injury. So someone in a car accident can seek damages for their broken arm, for time and money lost at work and for the pain and trauma caused by the accident. To prove that the plaintiff has suffered just as much as he/she claims to, evidence needs to be presented in court from medical experts, witnesses and loved ones. In many personal injury cases, people often seek damages for loss of enjoyment of life, anxiety, depression and isolation. This means that they are expected to be lonely, physically restrained and emotionally disturbed. However, if the defense turns to the plaintiff’s social media and finds evidence contrary to what the plaintiff states, tables can turn very quickly. In 2003, Kathleen Romano’s chair at work collapsed while she was at her desk. Consequently, she sued the chair’s manufacturer for a defective chair that had caused her back injury and confined her to her home. The manufacturer’s attorneys got access to the plaintiff’s social media accounts where they found photos of her smiling outside her house. In 2010, the court granted access to the defendant’s attorneys to Romano’s social media accounts and the case still remains under litigation.
According to Reuters, many judges are granting access to online caches, in civil cases to defense lawyers. Photos, check-ins, comments and expression of emotions (contrary to the emotional state the plaintiff claims to be in) have all contributed to delays in litigation, reduction in the compensation demanded or complete denial of compensation due to contrary evidence.
It is becoming standard for the defense attorneys to ask for social media activity for a certain period of time to see if they can find anything to weaken the plaintiff’s claim. If you or a loved one is looking for a personal injury attorney in Dallas who can help you get the compensation you deserve without feeling threatened by your social media activity, Rad Law can help. Rad Law has an experienced and ambitious personal injury attorney team that is up to date with all the laws that protect your cyberspace. Contact us today for a free consultation.