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 at 800goldlaw.com.