Social Media and Lawsuits

In today’s technological world, either you or someone you know uses a social media website such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Social media offers benefits such as staying in touch with friends and loved ones as well as sharing events life events with your social circles. Regardless of the online platform, if you are involved in a personal injury lawsuit, an insurance company will inevitably come looking for your social media accounts.

Some may call it creeping, others call it spying. Regardless of the term, the insurance company has one goal: to gather as much evidence as possible to bolster their position and deny you your claim. They will compile social media posts, pictures, videos and just about anything else that could be relevant to their defense. And if it’s relevant, it’s producible at trial. The lawsuits for pain and suffering go through a civil court trial. In Ontario, most if not all personal injury trials are decided not by a judge but by six people from the street who were called to civil jury service. These six individuals will view your pictures and judge whether your injuries limiting your activities or not. A lawyer acting for the negligent driver and paid for by the negligent driver’s insurance company, will request a that the claimant to produce social media posts and activity log, which cannot be deleted. If the claimant refuse to do so, the insurance lawyer may seek court’s order for such production and costs for the motion against the claimant.

My recommendation to avoid acrimony, if you are involved in a personal injury lawsuit, or anticipate you will be, it’s best to be one step ahead of the insurance company; deactivate your social media accounts and ask your friends and family to avoid posting anything relevant about you for the duration of the lawsuit. Some readers may think that by increasing their private setting, they can safely maintain an online presence during this time.

Although increasing your privacy settings may seem like a smart tactic to avoiding judgmental reviews of insurance companies, it doesn’t always work. Insurers can still find your profile through search engines and your friends. Yes, your friends. They can hire private investigators to investigate your social circles and lurk their accounts.