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Shapiro & Appleton

Facebook, Instagram and Other Social Media Accounts can Jeopordize Your Case

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Social media has become ingrained in society to the point that it is considered "odd" if you are not on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. However, utilizing these social media platforms after suffering an injury in a car accident, truck accident, motorcycle wreck, etc. carries serious risks to the viability of your claim. It is important to understand that your posts and photographs can be introduced as evidence in court. When I was working as an insurance defense attorney, I often tried to check out the plaintiffs in cases that I was handling to try and get an edge and discover any incriminating statements or images. First, I would Google them, then I would narrow it down to FaceBook and Instagram. Those sites are an incredible wealth of very personal information. Just think about it. People put their status for relationships on the sites. If I am a divorce attorney and my client's spouse is claiming to be single, but she has "in a relationship" on her site, then I am certainly going to look into that.

On the same token, if I am a personal injury defense lawyer and the plaintiff is claiming that she can't walk, I am going to love finding a video of her on
YouTube where she is dancing the night away or playing volleyball. Not to mention the fact that some videos/photographs are date stamped which will come in handy when the plaintiff says the video is two years old.

My message here is to victims. If you have been in an accident or have suffered some other type of injury then be very careful about how you portray yourself on these social media platforms. Certainly your case is not the only aspect of your life and you are entitled to continue enjoying other aspects. The problem is when you put yourself out there in a certain light and everyone can see it, including defense attorneys and insurance adjusters.

Of course, we all know that Facebook is like any other site profile created by the individual - they may not be accurate and they may not be current. Take the time to consider how you would interpret the information on your profile if you were a defense lawyer looking for ways to weaken your case. Don't make their jobs any easier for them. Make them work hard to try and diminish your claim. Trust me, they have plenty of tricks up their sleeves and we don't need to be giving them anymore.

 

Richard N. Shapiro
Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia
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