How many of you know that whatever you have written or your friends have posted on facebook or myspace can be discovered by your opponent in a lawsuit? Would you be embarrassed if some of your posts were viewed by a Judge or Jury? What explanations would you provide for some of your posts or pictures? Could your posts be used to make you look bad or be taken out of context to make you look like you are exaggerating your injuries or lying? If so, you need to re-think how you use social networking if you are involved in a possible lawsuit.
Your Social Media Account May Not Be As Private As You Think
Insurance companies, law enforcement agencies, and defense attorneys make it common practice to run computer searches to obtain information about your personal life, including accessing your social network without your knowledge or permission. Even if you have security settings at the highest level, after a lawsuit is filed, defense attorneys routinely ask the Judge to order you to produce all social media posts, pictures, and account passwords. If you don't want a post or photograph to be viewed by a Judge or a Jury in your lawsuit, think twice before posting.
Defense attorneys use social media posts to claim or suggest that injured people are exaggerating their injuries, are out-right liars, cheats or frauds. This is a common tactic by the defense so why post things that can be taken out of context and make you look bad? Even comments from friends can potentially damage a case.
Sweetser Law Office recommends you consider the following when posting to or receiving messages from facebook, twitter, google buzz, linkedin, youtube, etc:
- Verify that all your settings are on PRIVATE (the highest setting possible) and nothing is public.
- Only accept friend invitations if you are absolutely sure that you know the person
- Do not post any photographs or video of yourself (or enable others to “tag” you)
- Do not write or disclose anything about your personal life that you would be embarrassed to have a defense attorney use against you in front of a judge and jury
- Only send e-mails regarding your case to your attorneys
- Only send texts regarding your case to your attorneys
- Avoid entering insurance websites
- Discontinue participation in blogs, chat-rooms, or message boards
The most protective advice an attorney can give is to remove your account(s) until the matter is resolved.
Call Our Office Today if You Have a Case
At Sweetser Law Office, we understand limiting online social networking can be a great inconvenience, but as an attorney my job is to protect your rights. Unfortunately the law has not kept pace with the capabilities of modern technology and therefore, you should know what you believe to be private is not, and can harm your case. At Sweetser Law Office, we are not suggesting you be anything but truthful in your lawsuit. Understanding how seemingly innocent social networking can hurt your case, at least, allows you to know what can happen and how to protect yourself.
Don't wait to get help. Contact Sweetser Law Office for a free initial consultation today.