Most people these days are blogging, Tweeting and/or FaceBooking every day occurrences regarding the weather, their children’s antics or how their favorite sports team has performed. It is only natural that an event such as a car accident, work accident or other type of personal injury would also be shared with one’s nearest and dearest on a social networking site.
The problem is, however, that most people are not limiting their audience to immediate family members. Online “friends” tend to include people you have not had any personal contact with since high school, people you have never met in real life, or co-workers. While you are innocently posting pictures of your wrecked car, or updating your status to reassure everyone you’re “fine” (when in fact you may have a permanent injury that is not diagnosed until months after the accident), you have no control over what any of your “friends” do with that information after you have posted it. While you may keep a close eye on who your online friends are, you cannot stop any of them from downloading photos, re-tweeting or blogging that same information.
It is important to realize this because years later, if you have a lawsuit, those same photos and status updates can be discovered by the defense insurance company and used against you at trial. The Court Rules are slow to keep up with the ever-changing technology and there is currently nothing to stop the defense from seeking out information about you that you have made public online.
Be wary of any new “friend” requests if you have filed a lawsuit or are currently in trial. More importantly, do not post any photos or updates about your physical or mental condition, related to your accident. Even the most innocent of comments could be used against you at trial, when taken out of context or skewed by the defense.