Simple rule: Don’t post anything about your case on social media.
No matter what privacy settings you use on Facebook (or whatever social media platform is now popular) you must assume that everything you post will be viewed by opposing counsel in your personal injury lawsuit.
The best thing you can do for your lawsuit is to stop using social media from the time of your accident through the conclusion of your lawsuit. If you lack the willpower to do this, you should at least know how your posts may be used against you so you can limit their impact on your case.
How Will Opposing Counsel Access My Facebook Account?
This is a pretty easy question to answer. Without needing to resort to any underhanded tactics (such as tricking you into “friending” one of their investigators), opposing counsel can get your Facebook information through discovery.
How Can My Facebook Account Hurt My Lawsuit?
Let’s start with any photographs you’ve posted online. People tend not to post pictures of themselves doing nothing, or of them convalescing on the couch or in bed. Rather, they post pictures of themselves on vacation, or outdoors, or at parties or other social functions.
If you are claiming a back injury in your lawsuit, but have posted pictures to Facebook of you, after your accident, at an OU football or OKC Thunder game, or bowling or dancing (all case examples I’ve seen), how do you think that will look to a jury?
Sure, there are plenty of people with legitimate injuries who have perfectly good excuses for these types of photos: “I was having a rare good day when my pain wasn’t so bad,” or “Yeah, I did that, but I was bedridden with pain for a week afterward.” Do you want to rely on the insurance adjuster believing these? Honestly, if you are involved in a personal injury lawsuit, you should not take any pictures of yourself doing anything involving physical exertion.
Do you write embarrassing comments on Facebook? Have you complained about your job, doctor’s office, or even your attorney? While things like this will likely not be admissible in court, they are discoverable by opposing counsel, who may have no qualms about mentioning these things to potentially offended parties.