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Legal Implications of Social Media and Why Lawyers Research its Use

Photos, Comments and Shares from You and Friends can be misconstrued

Social-network-tree-with-mediaI always advise my clients to abandon their social media posting during a personal injury case. Comments and photos can be misconstrued, giving an impression that you are not injured or could work if you wanted.

You may think that your posts cannot be used in a court case, because your security is set to private or you don’t share publicly. But the courts allow attorneys and insurance companies to monitor your social media posts, regardless of your security settings or to whom you are posting.

You may not realize that a record of posts and Tweets exists after they are deleted and can be ordered from the court. Something as innocent as a “check-in” on Foursquare or similar app indicates that you were in a certain place at a certain time (such as checking-in a tavern two hours before you’re in a vehicle accident). Even the things people in your network say, share or tag you in may be used against you.

Lawyers Often Review Social Media Accounts as a First Step

A recent news article suggested that attorneys look at your social media as a first step in legal cases. Why? Because believe it or not, people are confessing crimes, glamourizing alcohol abuse and even sharing the use illegal drugs on social media sites.

In my last post, I shared how a photo my client posted gave the impression that he was not physically injured to the degree he said. We had to explain in court that walking as recovery for a severe back injury was prescribed by his doctor – and that it had taken him hours longer to do a short hike than it would take a healthy, uninjured person.

In an Vancouver Accident Lawyer? Call a Personal Injury Attorney Immediately

More than half the people surveyed by Lawyers.com said they didn’t realize their social media could be used in a divorce, criminal or personal injury case. Young people tend to be more aware that what they share can be used against them, yet my younger clients are the most reluctant to stop posting during a case.

My advice to anyone involved in an accident is to stop posting on social media immediately. Even if you think what you’re saying is okay, it can be misinterpreted. Call me or another personal injury lawyer to get help. A consultation is free and I can help you avoid costly (albeit innocent) mistakes.