The insurance defense industry is very aware of plaintiffs’ use of Facebook, MySpace, and other social media. See The New York Law Journal on the use of social media in personal injury lawsuits.
Plaintiffs may unwittingly post photos or text inconsistent with their claims of injury. Defense counsel will seek to use Facebook photos and text to show that plaintiff has exaggerated his injury.
As we reported previously, what you post can come back to haunt you. Anything that you post on the web can become public.
Here is an example of how a seemingly innocent Facebook entry can harm a client:
Mary Jones injured her low back in an automobile accident. She has chronic pain, and she does not return to work.
At her deposition Mary testifies that she cannot work or engage in any physical activity. She states that most of her days are spent at home watching television with an occasional visit to a doctor.
However, defense counsel finds Mary’s Facebook page where Mary writes to her “friends” about her vacations to Florida, Europe, and South America. These vacations all took place after the accident.
Defense counsel then moves the court to order that Mary provide an authorization so that they can obtain Facebook’s full file on Mary, such as pages and entries available only to Mary’s “friends” as well as any material that Mary deleted. The Facebook file has photos of Mary on vacation including photos of her dancing.
Defense counsel will introduce these texts and photos at trial for the purpose of showing that Mary has exaggerated her injury.
Therefore, plaintiffs should be aware that anything that they post on the web may be used in the lawsuit against them.
If you have been injured in an accident, please feel free to call me for a free consultation at 800-581-1434 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark E. Seitelman, 9/20/11, www.seitelman.com.