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THE ROLE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN A PERSONAL INJURY LAWSUIT

The Pew Research Center has carefully analyzed the diverse ways Americans utilize social media to seek information and interact with others in the last decade. They discovered that in 2016, nearly 8 out of every 10 Americans online mostly use Facebook. While 24 percent prefer Twitter.

A third of that figure use Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Most Americans now get their news through social media. They are using it at work, in the course of work, to seek employment or to take a break from the mental stress of their day.

While these online platforms offer entertainment, information, and an avenue for interaction, they can have a profound effect on a personal injury lawsuit. This is true as more people are online. They use sites to document their everyday experiences, so it is only natural for a Personal Injury Attorney to carefully examine any information available to determine whether it can be beneficial or hinder their case.

When Can The Information Be Compelled Into Evidence?

As indicated by the American Bar Association, social media posts, including messages and photos can be gathered as evidence. The requesting Personal Injury Attorney can force an argument with this information when it is:

-Relevant to the incident

– Authentic

– There isn’t a hearsay issue.

– More probative than prejudicial.

Although social media websites don’t cooperate with subpoenas, attorneys will look carefully to determine whether they can access information legitimately. The report must show some evidence that will contradict what the other party is claiming.

Although this doesn’t mean your messages will never make the courtroom, it means if there is any evidence on your profile that contradicts your claims, it could be a basis to ask for more access to your account.

Many people do not have their profiles set in private mode (which is something that is strongly recommended) whether or not you are involved in litigation. In civil cases, both parties can gain access to your account if the information isn’t protected.

Florida courts have established that pictures and postings of other forms are discoverable in injury lawsuits. Courts have held that individual’s who create social media accounts is accepting that their information will be shared to a certain extent regardless of the privacy settings involved.

What this indicates is that the real way you can protect your personal information online from discovery requests during litigation is not to paste anything that may be relevant to your lawsuit. This might seem easy enough.

If you are not careful, it could become more innocuous. Your Florida Personal Injury Attorney can help answer every question you have about how you can use social media and protect your claim at the same time. Your attorney will see how he or she will get you the appropriate information about the role of social media in your case.


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