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How social media investigations can ruin a personal injury case

On Behalf of | Jun 18, 2024 | Personal Injury

In today’s digital age, social media plays a significant role in our daily lives. However, for individuals involved in personal injury cases, social media can become a double-edged sword. Innocent posts and photos can be powerful evidence to contradict injury claims, potentially ruining a case. 

Understanding how social media investigations work and the impact they can have is important for anyone pursuing a personal injury lawsuit.

Social media can undermine claims

Social media can quickly undermine personal injury claims. A simple post can reveal activities that contradict the plaintiff’s statements about their injuries. For instance, an auto injury claimant lost credibility when a video showed him jumping onto a boogie board in a pool. Both he and his wife had claimed they needed spinal surgeries.

Video evidence is powerful

Videos provide powerful evidence in personal injury cases. During a presentation at the Combined Claims Conference in August 2023, attorneys explained how social media is like a gold mine for insurers when they dispute false claims. However, the information must be accurate and collected properly so it is admissible in court.

Legal implications of social media evidence

Social media content is often fair game for opposing lawyers, even if protected by privacy settings. Defense attorneys can request plaintiffs to produce relevant information during discovery. Courts have ruled that information posted on social media is in the public domain. 

It is important to understand that the insurers must verify any evidence collected. For example, a photograph of a plaintiff jumping hurdles won’t be admissible if taken before the accident date. However, investigators can often verify the timing of a post through metadata or other means. 

Be aware of all posts

It is important to understand that social media can make or break a personal injury case. Plaintiffs must be cautious about what they or their friends post online, and may want to consider not using social media at all for the duration of their case. They should make their friends and family aware of the issues at hand. Even a seemingly harmless post can become evidence that contradicts injury claims.