In this day and age, people are very involved with social media usage. With the rise in smart phone ownership, most of us are connected to our social media accounts constantly through push notifications and alerts. Social media usage kills time, prevents boredom and allows a user to connect with people they wouldn’t normally connect with on a day-to-day basis. This urge to share content on a Facebook or Twitter page opens a plaintiff or claimant up to being scrutinized in a personal injury or workers compensation case. It is now common practice for personal injury and workers compensation defense attorneys to regularly monitor claimants and plaintiffs during litigation. In Missouri, this information can be used against you in a workers compensation or personal injury proceeding.
It is a good rule of thumb to avoid using social media during your workers compensation or personal injury case as much as possible. It is difficult for many to resist the urge to post content to social media. For some, it is impossible, as there is a rise in social media addiction among users.
Avoiding Social Media Snafus During Personal Injury and Workers Compensation Claims
- The best way to avoid undesirable information being used against you in a personal injury or workers compensation case is to deactivate your social media accounts immediately after your injury and not reactivating them until your case has resolved. Adjusting your privacy settings can help in keeping some information stay private, but does not completely protect you from opposing counsel discovering that information. In some states, a judge can order a plaintiff or claimant to turn over social media content to be entered as evidence in a personal injury or workers compensation trial.
- If you decide to leave your social media accounts active during your case, please realize that even past posts can be used against you in a personal injury case. It’s a good idea to remove any past posts that would negatively affect your workers compensation or injury case.
- Pay special attention to your blog. If you have a blog published to the web, it is a good idea to monitor past blog posts for any content that could be used against you. Personal injury and workers compensation attorneys often search the web for plaintiffs and claimants after a claim is filed. Your blog could contain more information you don’t want shared than your private social media accounts.
- A Google search for your name can greatly increase your chances of not having undesirable information used against you in a workers compensation or personal injury case. Simply conduct a Google search for your first and last name to see what publicly searchable information about you is available.
- Be sure to be careful of what content other people are posting of you during your personal injury or workers compensation claim. For example, if someone takes a photo or video of you and tags you on Facebook or Twitter, opposing counsel may see the content and use that as a basis to deny your claim or be more conservative in presenting you a settlement offer.
An important fact to remember in using social media during your workers compensation or personal injury claim is that you don’t have to be lying for opposing counsel to use your content against you. The most innocent postings can be twisted and distorted to make you look like your claim is bogus. For example, if you injured your back in an accident and were shown on social media at a family reunion participating in games and activities, defense counsel could allege that you are not hurt or otherwise you wouldn’t be able to participate in such strenuous activity. You and your counsel would know this is a simply an intimidation tactic, but a judge or jury may not share the same opinion.
It is important to use an abundance of caution when using social media during your workers compensation or personal injury case. If you are unsure of what information you should share, make sure to consult your personal injury attorney for guidance.