Think Before You post, Your Case May Depend On It!
The age of social media has hit the courts running. Court’s have become more open to permitting opposing counsel in car accident cases to obtain access to a victims Facebook account. Typically, Facebook accounts contain a storehouse of photographs and wall postings that may tell the world a lot about you. For example, if you file an accident claim claiming a disability, insurance companies often look to your Facebook account to see if there are pictures taken after the accident showing you working out, dancing, running, or lifting weights! These pictures can be used against you at trial. And in Pennsylvania, they do not have to be turned over until after the Plaintiff’s deposition. See, Dominick v. Hanson, 753 A.2d 824 (Pa. Super. 2000) and Bindschusz v. Phillips, 771 A.2d 803 (2001) (requiring the production of surveillance information be turned over in all cases before trial, but not until after Plaintiff’s deposition.) This means that a defense lawyer can obtain your pictures on Facebook and then question you about those photographs at your deposition without notice.
Of course, lawyers cannot just assume a fake name and friend you just to get at your pictures. Nor can lawyers hack into your account without permission. Both actions would be unethical and may lead to disciplinary proceedings.
However, defense lawyers, more and more do submit social media interrogatories during discovery, and many courts have shown a willingness to compel Plaintiffs to turn over their access information.
What can you do to protect yourself? First, think before you post. Think of the consequences before you post a picture. Second, if you post a photograph that occurred before an injury, note the date when of the photograph was originally taken on the picture. Third, restrict access to your account. Social media accounts that are not restricted contain information that is open to the world to use against you.
The personal injury lawyers at Geoffrey B. Gompers & Associates are experienced in handling all aspects of automobile accident litigation. We offer free consultations for car accident and injury cases. Our results are noteworthy. Call our Philadelphia auto accident attorneys today at 215-567-6600 or contact us online. We will respond 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week.