The Cassidy Law Firm Blog

Friday, May 24, 2024

How Social Media Can Impact My Personal Injury Case

Social media has become a big part of so many people’s lives. From staying in touch with friends and family on Facebook to making professional contacts on LinkedIn, social media platforms provide an easy way to let folks know what is going on in your personal and professional life. However, using social media can be problematic when you are involved in a personal injury case. You are focused on getting compensation for the injuries you incurred as a result of another person’s negligence. With all the ups and downs involved in personal injury cases in Pennsylvania, you may feel the need to vent or get moral support from others. This is why you may be tempted to post about it on social media. But, doing this may complicate your case.

What are the possible consequences of posting on social media?

When you post  something on social media, you are exposing the information to the general public. This might be fine when you are talking about the Eagles or your favorite movie, but it can cause problems when you are discussing the details of your personal injury claim. This can provide crucial information to the other side of the case, which it can use at trial. Also, posting videos of you doing physical activities may undercut your claims of injury or disability.

One important aspect of a personal injury case is the relationship with your attorney. The court grants a very strong privilege for the discussions between your attorney and you. However, if you post about these conversations, you could be waiving the attorney-client privilege.

Another problematic aspect of posting on social media is the impact on your credibility. If you are taking a certain position in your case, and then post something that contradicts this position, the other side can use this to undermine your credibility. This can relate to claims of emotional distress, such as posting videos of you having fun at a party. It can also impact claims of physical injury by providing anything showing you engaged in physical activity. Always keep in mind that whatever you post on social media can be used as evidence in your case.

What happens if I post and then delete it?

One thing you should not do when involved in a personal injury case is purge your social media accounts or delete any posts. There is a concept in law called spoliation of evidence. This is the deliberate destruction of evidence so that the other side in a case cannot have it. Pennsylvania has an open discovery rule in personal injury cases. This allows each side to get full discovery of evidence from the other side. If you commit spoliation, you could be sanctioned by the court. No matter how bad the post or message is, you should never delete it during your case.

What can I do to protect myself?

While you cannot delete social media posts and messages, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself and your personal injury case. While Pennsylvania courts require the disclosure of public social media posts, it has taken a narrower view with respect to private ones. Therefore, if you feel the need to stay in touch with some people through social media, you should do so through private channels, like direct messages on X and Instagram, or a text message on What’s App. Your attorney may be able to protect these private communications from the other side’s discovery request.

You should also maximize the privacy settings on your social media accounts during the case. This will limit who can see your posts, and allow you to police access to your account. Keep in mind that this is not a complete protection of your posts from discovery.

Finally, you should limit your activity on social media. While you may think that a post is pretty innocuous, it may turn out to prejudice your case. This is why you should avoid discussing your injuries, anything related to the accident, and any physical activities that you perform. In addition, to the extent possible, you should ask your close friends and family to also avoid posting about your case. You may want to let everyone know you are doing okay, but using social media may not be the best way to accomplish this task.

If you have suffered a personal injury and need to file a case, call our firm today

If you have been injured in an accident and are seeking compensation for your injuries, call our firm today. The Cassidy Law Firm will provide you with the representation you need to get compensated for your injuries. Our team of experienced personal injury lawyers will also help guide you on the aspects of your case, including your use of social media.

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