Millions of us use internet social media like Facebook to maintain contact with family and friends in our day-to-day lives. Technology has provided us with the ability to stay in close personal contact with lots of people,miles or even thousands of miles away. As personal injury attorneys, we need to warn you that the tradeoff for this wonderful internet convenience is the ever-present danger of the loss of privacy.
Be warned – if you have been injured in an accident due to someone’s carelessness, we as personal injury attorneys remind you that insurance companies and defense lawyers will consider social media a window into your private life during the time your claim is pending. They frequently search the internet to see if they can find anything that helps develop information to use against you in your case.
If you do not have your account privacy set correctly, insurance company investigators can easily access your internet posts without your permission. We, as personal injury attorneys representing accident victims,are increasingly confronted by insurance companies with damaging information taken from social media sites that clients didn’t realize was not private.
Moreover, if your personal injury attorneys have filed your lawsuit in court, the insurance company lawyers often ask the court to require that you provide your social media content as part of their case investigation. Many of these lawyers ask that you disclose your passwords so that they can independently investigate and explore your social media posts. Some judges refuse to allow such access, but others do require that you surrender your private passwords to these strangers. When the court allows this, an insurance company lawyer gets extensive access to your personal life.
If you have a personal injury claim, consider that what you post on social media may no longer be secure and private. Your personal injury attorneys hate to find themselves having to explain and justify innocent information that you posted on your“private” social media page, information which then is being distorted by the other side. So please don’t be tempted to post your thoughts about your accident, about your case, about symptoms from an injury, or about medical treatment. Even playful posts that seem to suggest you are healthy or happy can be used to contend that your injury is not as severe as it really is.
Most personal injury attorneys feel that the better course of action,from the time you have been injured and an accident claim arises, is to keep your social media account, but stop posting to it until the claim is resolved.Some social media sites, like Facebook, allow users to “deactivate” their accounts. Past information is still maintained and the account can be reactivated at a late date. Do not delete past posts, however, as you do not want to be accused of destroying evidence!
If you have been injured by someone’s carelessness in an automobile accident or other personal injury matter we, as personal injury attorneys at Goss and Fentress, can help you avoid these and other hazards, to make sure that you are fairly compensated for your loss. Contact us.