Social media use – such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms – has reached epic and unprecedented proportions. In fact, social media statistics indicate that 72% of internet users are active on social media, with that number reaching 89% for users between the ages of 18 and 29. Facebook alone boasts more than 1.15 billion users, and Twitter has more than 550 million users.
The role of social media has not only changed the way that we interact and communicate with each other, but it has also impacted the kind of personal information that is publicly available. And given the pervasive role of social media in our culture, it is incredibly important for plaintiffs to understand the role that social media can play in a personal injury lawsuit.
There are a number of factors that impact liability and damages in a personal injury case, including the cause of the accident, the severity of the injuries, and the impact of the injuries on the plaintiff’s life. As part of the discovery process, lawyers will gather information from a variety of sources, including depositions, interrogatories, police reports, medical records, and other sources of information. Lawyers and investigators will often search social media websites for evidence of conflicting statements, exaggerations of injuries, and other evidence pertinent to the case.
For instance, if a plaintiff claims that he or she sustained significant injuries as a result of a car accident, but then posts photos or status updates while on vacation, playing sports, or otherwise engaging in ordinary physical activities, the defense could use this information to discredit the plaintiff’s injury claims. Additionally, if a plaintiff claims that he or she is unable to work following an accident, but is active on social media throughout the day, the defense could argue that the plaintiff should also be able to engage in some kind of employment.
If you were injured in a personal injury accident, it is highly recommended that you discontinue all social media use as soon as possible. Making your profile viewable only to friends or a limited number of people may not be enough either since the defense could subpoena the website’s records. You should also take great care to control the social media information that is linked to you via other people’s profiles.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you were injured in a personal injury accident, the Chicago accident and injury lawyers at Cogan & Power, P.C. will guide you every step of the way, including advising you of what to do and not do following the accident. Not only will we advise you of your legal rights and advocate on your behalf for maximum money damages, but we will also help you understand the legal processes involved and the impact that seemingly innocent actions, such as social media use, can have on your personal injury claim.
Contact our office at (312) 477-2500 to schedule a free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers.