Being involved in a personal injury accident can be a scary, intimidating experience. Personal injury victims worry about who will cover the medical bills, loss of time at their job, and if they will receive a monetary settlement. If you are involved in a personal injury case, there are certain legal measures you can take—and there may be legal action taken against you. In any case, it is important to know if any technical evidence can be used against you in your personal injury claim, whether you are the plaintiff or defendant. Are you unsure if your social media accounts can impact your personal injury case? Keep reading to find out what social media evidence federal and California law will admit in a court of law.
What Is Considered Social Media in Court?
The Federal Rules of Evidence 901 specifically allows electronic evidence to be used in a California court if it is certified by a qualified e-Discovery collection expert. Therefore, many popular social media sites can be used as evidence against you. Any posts you make on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are some examples of electronic evidence that can be deemed admissible in a court of law.
Defense lawyers may use certain software companies that capture web evidence or a web collection expert to certify your social media posts to make them permissible evidence. This means any information you post, content you share, videos you watch, or platform you use to communicate can be searched for evidence to use for or against your case. Your personal injury lawyer will be able to help you determine what posts can be used against you. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney in California who is competent in technology and understands the court’s standards governing the admittance of social media being used as trial evidence.
How Can My Social Media Accounts Affect My Personal Injury Case?
Social media posts can damage your personal injury claim because they will be used to show your character and credibility. Insurance adjusters and defense lawyers are able to legally take any of your social media posts and use them in court. Even if your pages are private, lawyers and insurance adjusters can legally request social media information if they are investigating a personal injury claim.
Both your future and current posts can impact your personal injury lawsuit, particularly if you post something that may be relevant to your claim. If you claim to have a debilitating back injury but you make a social media post about playing basketball, insurance adjusters and defense lawyers can claim your injury is not as severe as you initially claimed. This can cause your claim to be dismissed, decrease any monetary award you may receive, or make you liable for your own medical costs. It is best to contact a reputable personal injury lawyer to discuss how your social media accounts can affect your personal injury claim.
Should I Remove My Social Media Pages After I File a Personal Injury Claim?
It is highly recommended that you either make your pages private or completely remove them before and after you file a personal injury claim. In California, anything you make public on your page or anything you post about your personal injury lawsuit can be legally used against you. It is better to be safe than sorry when you file a personal injury claim, but if you do decide to keep your social media accounts, consider the following tips to avoid harming your case:
- Do not comment about your case in any way, and avoid saying anything negative or potentially damaging about other parties in your case. This can be considered defamation in court.
- Do not post anything about your personal injury, including any reports of your daily activities, how you physically feel, or anything related to your injury. If these posts are used as evidence, you may have to explain them in a court of law.
- Be aware of who you are messaging or texting through your account. Sharing a post that you intended as private may be made public, harming your case with the insurance company or in court.
How Can My Personal Injury Lawyer Help?
Because attorneys are well-versed in cases that involve social media and personal injury claims, they will be able to advise you on how to handle your accounts before you file your personal injury claim. California law does allow electronic evidence to be submitted in a personal injury case, and insurance adjusters and defense lawyers will be scrolling on your social media pages to find any posts that can disprove your claim. Speaking with an experienced personal injury attorney will help you avoid having your claim dismissed due to any social media accounts or any other tactics opposing counsel may use to discredit your claim. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your personal injury claim and how your social media posts may impact your case.