You sit on the couch in the evening reminiscing about the past and all the fun you have had in outdoor activities over the years. Remember the time you jumped from the cliffs into the water in Costa Rica? Or when you went rock climbing in California? Zip-lining in the rainforest! You captured all of those moments in photos, and now you want to share them with friends on your new Facebook account.
But as you start up the computer, that sharp pain in your hip, which makes most days almost unbearable, returns. This has been keeping you down ever since you tripped and fell on that uneven sidewalk. And then you remember the words of your lawyer: “Social media is not a private place. Only share things there that you would want to share with the judge and jury on our case.” Quickly, you close down your computer and reminisce alone.
It is tempting to share our experiences in life with the people we know. But once we have entered into litigation, it is imperative that we analyze all decisions through the lens of the courtroom and jury. Facebook posts showing someone doing something they should not be able to do because of the injury they have sustained in an accident can make a plaintiff look opportunistic and dishonest. Photos of post-accident are a definite no-no. Pre-accident photos, on the other hand, may help your case by showing what you can no longer enjoy. It is important to remember these distinctions when posting to social media.
Use of social media is widespread. The likelihood that someone you know also knows someone working for your opposition is high, so the chance that something you do not want being presented in court is higher than you might imagine. The defense lawyers will also be trying to look at your social media posts. In that regard, make sure your account settings keep unwanted viewers out of your information. You can find tips about avoiding being victimized on social media here.
Not all courts will be swayed by social media evidence, as some can recognize that a picture is merely a snapshot in time, often presented to show the good, or even embellished, perspective of someone’s life. But that is merely a possibility, and introducing the need for convincing the court of that is an unnecessary burden to achieving a successful outcome in your case.