Facebook and Other Social Media Are Being Used Against Injured Persons; Beware of What You Post

May 25, 2012

We have written previously that Facebook and other “social media” can be used against an injured plaintiff in his lawsuit. 

We recently received an extensive discovery demand from defense counsel requesting authorizations to obtain the client’s files from:

  • Facebook;
  • MySpace;
  • Twitter; and
  • Linkedin.

The demand in this particular case is amusing because our client, an elderly housewife, does not have a computer! 

However, Facebook and other social media are prevalent in the “under 60 age groups.”  It is very surprising what people post.

Clients should carefully consider that even if a post or picture is circulated amongst only “friends”, defense counsel may end-up getting it even if you think that it is private.  Defense counsel will seek to get pictures of the client engaged in some strenous activity which contradicts the client’s claim of disability.

To paraphrase the old saying, “what you post on Facebook can be used against you.”


Getting a Recovery for Your Personal Injury Lawsuit; Facebook Photos against the Injured Client

September 20, 2011

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 letters@seitelman.com.

Mark E. Seitelman, 9/20/11, www.seitelman.com.

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