“Dance Like No One is Watching; Email Like It May One Day Be Read Aloud in a Deposition.”
Quoting Olivia Nuzzi, political reporter for The Daily Beast. The same goes for your posts and pictures on social media as they can end up in court.
Modern life is so infused with social channels that it can be a difficult habit to break. In fact, many behavioral psychologists have said that Internet use is an addiction. For those of us who check Facebook several times a day that’s not hard to believe.
The problem is the very public, very permanent nature of social media that makes it something to be avoided during your case. ABC News covered a story about Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation where those who were filing were caught on vacation participating in water sports and other very physical activities. While the majority of people filing claims are not faking them, there is still a lesson to be learned from this.
A back injury does not always hurt the same way, every day. When someone has relief from that pain for any reason the first thing they want to do is resume their old life. You want to get out and pull weeds in the garden, take your kids to the park or movies because you know that tomorrow you may not be able to. In the world of Facebook and Instagram, there is not only the urge but the inducement to share those moments—after all, that’s what social media is for. Unfortunately, a picture can tell a thousand words and those words quite possibly may be the wrong ones.
What does it say to a jury when an opposing attorney shows a picture of you playing with your kids in the park when you have said you’re too injured to work a 40-hour week?
So much of your case will be built on perception, and this is why it is very important to remove yourself from social channels. You may very well be in a situation deserving of workman’s compensation, but expose yourself to criticism through wrongly worded statements or photographs. Not everyone is able to create social posts with the type of discipline and premeditation required to describe their life in a way that would prevent them from scrutiny. An incomplete tweet, a misconstrued Facebook post can lead to your not receiving the award you truly deserve. If you do intend to continue using social media, then you should probably set rules for yourself of those things you can and cannot say until your case is concluded.
Any lawsuit involving your personal life is a serious legal action that can have far reaching results. It must be given the respect and gravity that the situation deserves. There is no room for mistakes even if well-intentioned. It is our jobs as personal injury lawyers to avoid those pitfalls and keep our clients on the right track.