Most people today are active on various forms of social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Vine, Snapchat, and LinkedIn. If you have been injured in an accident or other incident, however, it’s very important to use caution when sharing personal information on the Internet.
Although you may think the information you post is private – shared only between you and close online “friends” – the photos and statements you put online may not be as private as you think. Increasingly, evidence gleaned from social media sites has been used to contradict or weaken a party’s position in a variety of lawsuits, including divorce, workers’ compensation claims, and personal injury matters.
What You Post Online Can Come Back to Haunt You
When it comes to social media, it’s best to assume that anything you say or share online can be used against you in court – even information shared through “private” account settings. Although the admissibility of social media evidence is still an evolving area of law, courts will allow social media evidence when it is both admissible and relevant.
Tips for Social Media Use after an Accident
Just because you’ve been injured or have a pending case doesn’t mean you have to stop using social media altogether. However, it’s important to use good judgment when it comes to the type of information you share. A growing number of insurance companies and defense counsel are turning to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other Internet sites to mine for evidence. Keep the following tips in mind:
- Although family and friends might be curious about your accident, it’s best to discuss anything related to your case in person or over the phone.
- If someone asks about your accident on a social media site, don’t post a generic reply stating that you can’t talk about it due to your lawsuit; instead, ignore the message and take your reply offline.
- Before you post a photo, status update, or any other communication on a social media site, consider its potential impact on your case. For example, if you broke your leg in an accident, but you feel well enough to stand at a party with friends for a few minutes, it still might be a bad idea to post a photo of yourself on the dance floor. Remember that the defense is eager to use any potential evidence against you. Photos and comments can be taken out of context and used to cast you in a negative light.
Use your best judgment. When in doubt, ask your lawyer before you post.
Illinois Personal Injury Lawyers
At Anesi, Ozmon, Rodin, Novak & Kohen, Ltd., we help our clients navigate all aspects of their case. Whether you suffered an on-the-job injury, a car accident, or other incident, our personal injury lawyers can help. Call today at (312) 372-3822 or toll-free at (800) 458-3822 to speak to an Anesi Ozmon attorney about your case.
This website has been prepared by Anesi, Ozmon, Rodin, Novak & Kohen, Ltd. for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.