Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have changed the way that many people communicate. For example, after an accident that leaves you injured, you may use social media to inform your friends and family of your condition all at the same time. While an initial informative post like this may have little impact on your case, it is nevertheless a good idea to avoid social media use after filing a personal injury lawsuit and while the case is pending. Here are some reasons why, as a personal injury attorney in Des Moines, IA, like from Johnston Martineau, LLP, can explain.
1. Anything You Say Can Be Used Against You
Following a criminal arrest, authorities inform a suspect of his or her Miranda rights. One of these is the right to remain silent because any statements can be entered as evidence at trial. Although you may not be informed of it, the same right to remain silent applies to you as the plaintiff in a personal injury case, and for the same reason: Anything that you communicate to others is discoverable and can be entered against you as evidence in court. This includes digital communications that take place through social media. Therefore, if you say anything on Facebook, Twitter, etc. that seems to contradict the allegations that you made in your court filing, the other side can use it as evidence that you have either lied about or exaggerated your claims.
2. A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words
It is not only what you write on social media that you have to pay attention to. It is also pictures that you post. If you claim in your personal injury suit that your injury prevents you from performing your normal activities and decreases your quality of life, but you post pictures of you going about your routine and enjoying yourself as you did before the accident, that undermines your credibility.
3. Everything Is Fair Game
Law enforcement has to comply with laws that prevent collecting evidence under certain circumstances. However, private citizens are bound by no such regulations. Therefore, if you share private social media communications that contradict your case, these posts may find their way into court as evidence. It is safest not to share any information about your lawsuit through social media, either publicly or privately. If you have to communicate with someone else about your case, find a more secure way of doing so.
You cannot be held responsible for anything that you do not say. Therefore, though it may be difficult, it is in your interest to take a social media break while your lawsuit is pending. An attorney can advise you further on your personal injury case when you contact a law office.