With around 350 million users, Facebook is undoubtedly the most popular social media site in the world. But if you’re in the midst of a personal injury claim, information, posts and photos on sites like Facebook can actually ruin your case. How? Consider this:
- Photos posted by your friends can be viewed by people outside your network of “friends” despite your privacy settings.
- Courts have ordered injured plaintiffs to produce their Facebook pages to insurance company lawyers.
- Evidence from Facebook has been admitted in courts and have been used by police, investigators, and media.
- Law clerks for insurance defense lawyers check Facebook for their opponents’ pages, profiles and pictures.
- Defense lawyers always want your medical information, even though it may not be relevant to your case. By talking about your medical issues in a public forum, you may lose the ability to protect your medical confidentiality in Court.
So what steps can you take to help protect yourself?
- Critically review the photos and posts on your social media sites and remove anything that you wouldn’t want the insurance company lawyer to see.
- Check your privacy settings and see if you can block certain people from being able to see that you are even on the site (Facebook allows this). Go ahead and block the insurance company lawyers and their clerks.
- Search for your name in the search field and review the information that comes up to make sure it’s acceptable.
- Never accept friend requests or respond to emails through social media sites from people you do not know.
While the above steps are not foolproof, they will make it less likely that your personal information ends up in the wrong hands.