Regardless of your intentions, when you post information on the internet,
it always has the potential to be accessed publicly. Whether you intend
for a post, picture, comment, or other message to reach one person or
a hundred people, the potential exists for that information to be found
– sometimes, rather easily.
Defendants, such as insurance companies, routinely look at our client’s
various social media pages, including Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, YouTube,
and others. Their goal is to find information that can discredit your
legitimate insurance claim, and minimize the true value of your case.
Defendants will also use social media as a means to identify your family
and friends, who are other potential sources of information, to help them
build their case against you. Because the courts are allowing this practice
by Defendants to continue, there have been an increasing number of lawsuits
which have been destroyed by what personal injury victims have posted online.
For example, in a recent New York case, a woman was injured when her chair
collapsed. She filed a lawsuit, claiming back and neck injuries and “loss
of enjoyment of life.” Defendants sought, and were granted, access
to the woman’s Facebook profile, even though she had certain privacy
settings in place. Subsequently, the Defendant insurance company’s
lawyers uncovered photos that depicted the woman traveling and engaging
in some activities which the defense argued, fairly or not, were inconsistent
with her claims of injuries and damages.
In a case like this, the fact that someone can be injured and still travel
and enjoy themselves doesn’t matter. All that matters is that the
photos were found, and the Defense built their case around them. When
taken out of context and presented to a jury, the implications can swing
a case in the Defendant’s favor.
Just because you think something is private doesn’t mean that it
is. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Craig Goldenfarb, P.A. always
advise our clients that what they post online may become public information.
It’s good practice to have your privacy settings configured to be
as private as possible on all social media websites you engage in.
If your case enters litigation, it’s our best advice to refrain completely
from referring to your case or injuries on any social media account you
may regularly use. In fact, you may want to avoid social media alltogether
during the duration of the litigation phase. You just never know what
the Defense might discover and use against you.
Spencer Kuvin, Esq. is the Litigation Director and Lead Litigation Attorney
at the Law Offices of Craig Goldenfarb, P.A. You can reach him at skuvin