The Role of Social Media in Personal Injury Claims

social media and personal injury cases GSIf you are currently involved in a personal injury case, chances are that your attorney has advised you not to post about your case on social media, and may have even asked you to steer clear of social media use altogether.  The reason for this is that social media postings are increasingly being used as evidence in personal injury cases.  You may post something you believe to be perfectly innocent to your social media page, not realizing that it can be used as evidence against you in court.

A recent example of this is outlined in a Canadian National Post article.  Plaintiff Sarah Tambosso claimed that a 2008 car accident changed her from someone who was vibrant and active to someone suffering from depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Additionally, she stated these conditions were aggravated by another car accident in 2010. However, a British Columbia Supreme Court judge rejected most of Tambosso’s request for thousands of dollars in damages, citing issues with her credibility.  The evidence which caused the judge to question Tambosso’s credibility included 194 printed pages from her Facebook account.  These pages showed her in a variety of social settings, including costume parties, karaoke contests, and tubing on the river with friends, all of which the judge felt were inconsistent with someone suffering from psychological issues.

On the other hand, in a similar case in British Columbia last year, a judge ruled completely differently, stating the Facebook photos of the plaintiff were merely snapshots in time, and did not disprove her injury claims.  From these two cases, you can see there is currently no set precedent for how social media postings are to be interpreted in a court of law.  As a plaintiff in a personal injury case in this day and age, you should be fully prepared to turn over social media records as well as medical and employment records.  Suspending all social media activity while your case is active is the best way to prevent inadvertently sabotaging yourself as you await your trial.

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