In today’s world, it’s not uncommon for most adults to use some kind of social media website. Social media allows us to connect with our friends and share updates about our lives. Users have the ability to relay vast amounts of information about themselves to others.
Sometimes, however, social media users can inadvertently post something that comes back to hurt them later. This is especially true for injury victims who also use social media. An experienced personal injury attorney would likely advise you to exercise extreme caution when posting to social media while pursuing an injury case. Here’s more about how social media can impact your injury case.
When Social Media Isn’t Helpful
Even though social media has the power to do tremendous good, when you’re bringing a personal injury claim, social media can hurt you. If you say something on social media that works against your case, it can hurt your chances of recovery. You might say something that calls the facts of the case into doubt. You might say something that makes you look bad.
You May Contradict Your Own Testimony
You may end up saying something on social media that contradicts what you’re claiming in the case. For example, if you’re claiming that you have a broken arm, but you post on social media that you’re going bowling, the defense is going to challenge your injuries. When you have an injury claim, you must always be completely honest about your injuries and losses. Contradictory social media posts can completely ruin your case.
Check-ins on Facebook, Foursquare, and other sites can show that you’re participating in activities that contradict the injuries you’re claiming. For example, if you’re claiming you have limited mobility, you shouldn’t check in at your weekly yoga class. Location posts can count as evidence against you.
You May Show What You’re Able to Do
Social media posts can inadvertently show the other side what you’re physically capable of doing after your injury. If you post a picture of your children on the ski hill, the other side might ask who took the picture. If the answer is you, they’ll have proof that you’re on a ski hill. What you post can call your case into question in ways you may not be able to predict.
Comments From Family and Friends
Even the things that witnesses post on social media can hurt your case. They might contradict your claims about your injuries. They might make statements about how much money you want to get paid for your losses. These things can hurt your evidence in the case and paint you in a negative light.
Why Are Social Media Posts Admissible?
Trials in Las Vegas and all of Nevada follow the Nevada Rules of Evidence. The rules of evidence say that what a person says outside of court typically isn’t admissible at trial. Out of court statements are often categorized as inadmissible hearsay.
However, there’s a routine exception for the statements of a party. When you’re bringing an injury claim, your statements to others outside of court are admissible against you because you’re a party to the case. Your social media posts count as statements, and that’s why they’re admissible against you in court. Statements by family and friends on social media are also admissible if they contradict the same person’s statement in court.
But I’ll Do Better Than Other People!
You might think that you can still use social media during your injury case if you’re really careful. You might assume that you can carefully filter your social media posts by reading everything you post with a critical eye.
Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to say something that you don’t realize may be used against you. You never know how the other side is going to try to twist your words and your posts. Trying to monitor your social media use is too risky when your recovery is on the line.
Can’t I Just Make My Page Friends Only?
Even if you make your Facebook page friends only, there are things that the other side can do to see what you post. First, if they know any of your friends, they can ask your friends to give them the information voluntarily.
Second, they can take advantage of Nevada’s Discovery Rules. These rules can require you to produce records. The other side may demand that you provide copies of your social media records even when your account is set to private.
How Social Media Battles Play out in Court
A social media squabble can complicate your case. You and your attorney may have extra trips to court to hash out whether you have to produce social media records for the other side. On the one hand, courts have ruled that there’s no social media privilege. You can’t get out of producing relevant social media records by setting your status to friends only or private.
However, the key to social media discovery is showing relevancy. Nevada discovery rules don’t allow parties to demand large amounts of records in the hopes that they’ll find something helpful for the case. That’s called a fishing expedition. These conflicting legal priorities can result in a court battle that makes your case more complicated and stressful.
What Should I Do?
If you’re bringing a personal injury claim, don’t post anything personal on social media. If you absolutely must use social media, limit your social media use to liking other people’s posts and sharing news articles.
You should see what’s out there about you by searching for your own name. Ask friends and family not to mention the case. Your best bet is to lay low on social media sites until your case is fully resolved.
How We Can Help
If you have been injured in an accident and are pursuing an injury claim, it’s essential to contact a qualified Las Vegas personal injury attorney. Your lawyer can help build, file, and present your case. Additionally, your attorney will provide expert guidance at every stage of your case.
This guidance is crucial to helping you gain an understanding of the things you should avoid to make your case as simple and successful as possible. That includes helping you make sure to avoid social media pitfalls during your case. Don’t let a simple mistake compromise your ability to recover the compensation you need to get back to your life.