The pitfalls of social media have been widely debated; the fact that you are telling the world your most personal thoughts through your status; who your friends are; where you eat or where you have been on holiday. It can be a diary of your life with the added bonus of pictures.
But what if you are involved in personal injury litigation, and you post on social media?
If not correctly protected a defendant is able to simply access your Facebook page and take a look at your day-to-day activities, and make an assessment on the impact of your injury.
Such personal details and postings on social media could be admissible in court and used as evidence to demonstrate the effect of the injury on your client.
The problem is that the natural tendency for all of us is to post entries that are positive and cheerful.
As a result the Defendant could misconstrue such posts and they could use it to their advantage.
My experience is that Defendants are checking claimant’s social media entries as a matter of course.
On one case I was taking on behalf of a man who had a terrible injury as a result of medical negligence, my client posted a picture with his children looking very happy.
His children and their friends looked at his Facebook page so he did not want a picture of him looking depressed and in low spirits despite being in a lot of pain.
The lawyers representing the Hospital tried to use these posts and others in an attempt to decrease the value of the claim using this as evidence.
In the end it had no bearing in the case but serves as an example of how defendants are keen to try and use this to their advantage.
At the very least we advise all our clients from the outset that other parties involved in the litigation could misinterpret a posting. They should set all their privacy settings to the most secure as they are under scrutiny.
Ideally, clients should refrain from posting on social media until the case is over, but as that could be a number of years it would seem quite draconian and quite impossible to implement.
Social media is just that, social and this needs to be in everyone’s mind when posting on public forums where even the most innocent status update can be used against you.