If You Don’t Have A Facebook or Other Social Media Account, Now is Not the Time to Open One!
It can be tempting for an injured person who is stuck at home to want to find ways to make the day go by faster. But please, if you don’t have a Facebook or other social networking accounts, do NOT open one now. Good adjusters and defense attorneys regularly check to see if claimants have public social networking pages and will use any information that you post (photos/updates) to attempt to lower the value of your claim.
If You Have a Facebook or Other Social Media Account, Set Everything to Private!
If you already have a Facebook or other social networking account, please be sure to set it to “Private”. Facebook and other social networking sites often change their privacy settings, so go into your profile and make sure that EVERYTHING related to your profile is set to private, including photos! Repeat this step often.
Do Not Use Facebook or Other Social Media Account Email, Chat or Messenger Functions!
An emerging question in Florida law is whether or not emails, chat or messages sent and received through function of MySpace, Facebook and other social media accounts are discoverable. Many defense attorneys are making the argument that the privacy language in these social networking sites set forth that all information, even if the account is set to private, is public information and is therefore discoverable. (If something is discoverable, that means that an attorney can issue a subpoena and get records from Facebook, MySpace or other social media accounts). Remember, every key stroke is permanently recorded and even if you “erase” or “delete” a photo or email, it still exists and can be printed out by MySpace and Facebook and sent to the attorney who requested it. It is important to note that you should NOT delete or otherwise erase or hide any posts, messages or chats as doing so can be considered spoliation of evidence. At the end of the day, it is best to simply NOT USE the email/chat/messenger capabilities provided by social networking sites and to instead use only your personal email (gmail, yahoo, hotmail, etc.).
Don’t Post Photos, Status Updates, or Messages That You Wouldn’t Want a Jury to See!
Before you post a photo or status update on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other social media account, ask yourself, “Is this something I would want to see blown up in Court and shown to the jury who is going to decide my case?” When in doubt, don’t post it! You may be having a “good” day and snap a quick photo dancing with a friend in your living room. While you know that you were feeling ok that day (or that the dancing made you feel worse so you stopped and had to take medicine and rest) the jury may look at the photo and think that you are not being truthful about your injuries. Again, make sure your account (including photos) are set to private and DO NOT post anything you wouldn’t want a jury to see.
Need more information?
If you need more information or would like to discuss your case, please visit www.chelsielamie.com.
5 Steps to Protecting Your Privacy (and Your Personal Injury Case) In the Age of Social Networking