Do you find yourself using social media almost constantly? You’re not alone — nearly every demographic posts their triumphs and troubles on social media. From Gen Z’s use of TikTok to millennial use of Facebook, people use social media more now than ever to stay connected. However, oversharing may have consequences for those involved in a personal injury lawsuit. Any post, photo or comment you make on your social media accounts could be deemed relevant evidence against your injury case.
Relevance in Court
According to the Federal Rule of Evidence 401, evidence is deemed relevant if:
- It has the tendency to make a fact more or less probable than it would be without evidence; and
- The fact is of consequence in determining the action.
In the personal injury realm, courts may permit opposing counsel to use what you shared against you in a lawsuit and negatively affect the outcome of your claim. Nothing is too small here — using Facebook to check into the gym after a debilitating injury could become evidence to claim your injuries are not as extensive as portrayed in your injury case.
Some may feel that using social media as evidence in a personal injury lawsuit is excessive, but an explosion in social media use has prompted the law to catch up. As of 2023, the worldwide population is 8.0 billion — meanwhile, 4.9 billion are active social media users. Each spends an average of 155 minutes every day on their accounts. The law has changed in response, making it possible for social media account information to be included in the discovery process — although the depth and scope vary by state.
There are countless examples where people involved in lawsuits have negatively impacted their injury case by posting information on their social media accounts. In some instances, it could be as innocent as posting about a vacation. If you happen to comment that funds from a personal injury lawsuit settlement paid for your travels, you could potentially violate a non-disclosure agreement. As a result, the courts may rescind the award for violating confidentiality rules.
An Attorney’s Advice
While it may be tempting to vent on social media or share life updates, we recommend you stay off social media if possible. Our advice extends to all popular platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, TikTok, Facebook Messenger and any other messaging applications.
Our attorneys generally recommend that our injury case clients:
- Remember that every post is public information. Even if you delete a post, photo, share or comment — it’s still retrievable. Your digital footprint is forever.
- Remember privacy settings won’t protect you from the law. Use of privacy settings doesn’t mean your social media account information is shielded from legal discovery during a personal injury lawsuit.
- Do not post your injuries. If you receive an injury through no fault of your own, do not post anything on your channels about the accident or your injuries immediately after, during the claim process and even after resolution.
- Be aware of confidentiality rules regarding settlements or judgments. Even after your injury case resolves, you should not discuss details or awards on social media accounts.
Start Your Personal Injury Lawsuit
Casey, Devoti & Brockland is a St. Louis-based law firm focused exclusively on personal injury litigation. Since 1983, our attorneys have helped injured people navigate the road to recovery by securing compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses and lost wages.
Matt Casey, Matt Devoti and Anne Brockland have decades of trial experience handling personal injury lawsuits, from auto collisions and product defects to medical malpractice and wrongful death. Together, we proudly serve clients throughout metropolitan St. Louis, southeastern Missouri and southern Illinois.
Our highly accessible attorneys deliver the perfect balance of aggressive legal representation, compassion and personal service for your injury case. If you or a loved one have been injured by the negligence of another, contact our firm today for a free consultation.