February 5, 2015
About 3 out of every 4 regular Internet users in the U.S. has at least one social media account that they regularly use, according to the Pew Research Center. While this speaks to the growing popularity of social media, it also reveals just how much social media has become ingrained in people’s lives.
Of course, there can be various benefits to having and using social media – from staying connect with loved ones to using it for marketing purposes. However, when people who use social media are also involved in personal injury lawsuits, it can be important for them to realize that:
- Their posts and photos may become an issue in their case.
- Depending on the content of these social media posts and photos, injured people (i.e., plaintiffs) may end up sabotaging their own claims.
Social Media Posts Can Hurt Your Personal Injury Case: A Look at Current Case Law
Taking a look at current case law regarding social media in personal injury cases can shed some light on this issue. One recently notable case is Nucci v. Target Corp., American Cleaning Contracting, and First Choice Building Maintenance, Inc. (No. 4D14-138 Jan. 7, 2015 4th DCA), which involved a woman suing Target after slipping and falling in one of their stores.
While the plaintiff in this case has claimed various severe physical injuries and was seeking compensation for the treatment of these injuries (and other losses), attorneys for Target sought to gain access to the plaintiff’s Facebook account during the deposition process.
The plaintiff fought this by arguing that, because she had certain privacy settings on her account, she had a reasonable expectation of privacy regarding these posts; therefore, the defendant should not have access to any of them. The defendant, however, claimed that:
- Access to the plaintiffs’ social media posts was crucial to establishing the plaintiff’s quality of life before and after her injury
- Facebook’s conditions specifically include language regarding the fact that all content put up on the site could be distributed by the site as it sought fit.
- The defendant was granted access to the plaintiff’s Facebook account (as well as her cellphone).
- The defendant was able to argue, based on the photos and posts associated with the plaintiff’s social media account, that she was not nearly as injured as she had claimed to be.
The Bottom Line: Be Careful & Consult an Attorney
When it comes to your social media accounts and personal injury cases, the bottom line is that:
- What you post in your social media accounts – particularly what you post after an accident or injury – can be used against you in a personal injury case.
- To avoid doing anything that could hurt your case, it’s strongly advised that you consult with and follow the direction of an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you build the strongest case.
Littleton, Colorado Personal Injury Lawyers at Bahr and Kreidle
Have you been hurt as a result of negligence, carelessness or recklessness? If so, it’s time to contact the trusted Littleton personal injury attorneys at Bahr and Kreidle. For more than 30 years, our lawyers have been fighting on behalf of injured people and aggressively standing up against injustice, inequality and intolerance. To find out more about how we can help you, meet with us for a free, no obligations initial consultation. To set up a meeting, call us at (303) 794-7422 or email us using the contact form on this page.
From our law offices in Littleton, we represent clients throughout Colorado, including in the Denver Metro Area, Arapahoe County, Adams County, Jefferson County and the cities of Lakewood, Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree, Castle Rock, Westminster, Centennial and Aurora.