People injured by accidents and malpractice should be aware that their postings on the internet can come back to haunt them.
Defense counsel and their investigators will search the client on the web. A client’s own postings can hurt his case. Clients have posted pictures and videos of themselves dancing, engaging in sports, and having a great time on vacation. These either destroy or undercut the client’s claims.
Johnnie Jones is a construction worker. He fell from a ladder and sustained back injuries which prevent him from returning to work.
Johnnie pursues both a workers’ compensation claim and a lawsuit. He testifies that his back pain prevents him from working and engaging in daily activities, such as mowing the lawn, helping with housework, picking-up the children from school, etc. He testifies that he stays home and watches television.
Defense counsel search Facebook and find Johnnie’s page. Johnnie posted a video of his sister’s wedding, and the video shows Johnnie dancing-up a storm.
Johnnie has an explanation. He says he loaded-up on pain killers so that he could celebrate his only sister’s wedding. He also says that he has both good and bad days. (Of course, this was a good day.)
Defense counsel will introduce the video at trial to undercut Johnnie’s claim of permanent disability. Johnnie will give his explanation. The jury may either dismiss Johnnie’s case, greatly reduce his damages, or accept his explanation.
The lesson for personal injury clients is do not post videos and pictures on Face Book, My Space, or other websites.
Mark E. Seitelman, 12/10/10, www.seitelman.com.