Social media is ubiquitous in our lives today, but when you are in the middle of a personal injury lawsuit, what you post online can be used against you.
In today’s court, lawyers can request access to your social media accounts and then use what they find during a trial. This is because it is legal to use communications from social media sites as evidence.
Here are some steps you should take to protect yourself.
1. Never talk about your case.
It is best, once you are involved in a lawsuit, to avoid mentioning it online altogether. Anything you say there can be used against you. Even if you think the message is harmless, the other party may find a way to distort your words based on their arguments.
2. Do not delete your account or your posts.
Once involved in a dispute, you may be tempted to delete your account or your posts. In some cases, this could be considered destruction of evidence, which could constitute a serious violation of the law. This will hurt you and your case in the long run.
3. Make your accounts private.
While it is not recommended that you delete accounts or posts, you can make your information on your social networking sites “private”. This will prevent the other party from easily seeing everything you have posted. They can still ask for access, but it gives you and your lawyer a head start to look at whatever you have there.
4. Think twice before posting.
Once you get involved in a dispute, think twice before posting anything on social media. Something that you think is normal, like a picture of you hiking with your family, can be taken as evidence that your back injury was not as bad as you claimed it was. Keep in mind that social media posts can be very helpful to the other party and are used more and more every day in the courts.
5. Notify your friends and family.
You can be very careful when mentioning your case on social media, but what about your friends and family? If they mention it or something related to it, it could still hurt your case. For example, while you can’t post that photo from your hike, your friend can.
Take the time to talk to anyone who might post information about you and ask them to refrain from doing so.
6. Realize that passwords and encryption probably won’t help.
You may believe that due to encryption technology or password protection, you can prevent other parties from browsing your social media posts or posts. Unfortunately, this is usually not the case. Even if your device is protected, an opposing party can still legally access it.
7. Be careful.
Anything you share on social media can become part of the public record. Be selective about what you share and be careful where you click, as some dangerous links can give hackers access to spy on you. Do not respond to messages from strangers and limit your communications about your case in person and over the phone.