A personal injury lawsuit can be a very complex and delicate legal proceeding. The slightest turn in testimony or evidence can have a ripple effect that changes the entire course of a case. This sensitivity is increased tenfold due to the prevalence of social media. Pictures, videos and other posts of a person’s day-to-day life give people a rare glimpse into how others live, but such a window into your life could prove disastrous to a personal injury case.
HOW DO SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS AFFECT PERSONAL INJURY CASES?
An auto accident lawsuit in the Monroe County Court of Common Pleas is shaking up the legal landscape in Pennsylvania. A judge has ordered that the defendant in this case be allowed to access the Instagram account of the plaintiff, despite the account being set to private. This after the defendant showed the court images from the Instagram account—when it was still set to public access—which showed the plaintiff participating in physical activities that her alleged injuries should preclude.
Though the plaintiff has argued that the account is private, at one point it was public, and it was made clear to the court that the account may contain information that relates to the litigation of the case. Earlier in proceedings the plaintiff had also denied she maintained a social media account. However, when presented with evidence of her Instagram account, she admitted that she misunderstood the question and claimed the account.
These revelations have most likely hurt this plaintiff’s personal injury claim. Even if she has a sound explanation for the posts that appear on social media, pictures and video are powerful evidence that could place doubt in the minds of those deliberating a case. This is why an experienced attorney will ask clients to avoid social media during their personal injury case. With the role of social media increasing in our nation’s courtrooms, being aware of your footprint online is becoming vital to every lawsuit.