May 15, 2017
Protecting Your Case from Social Media
Thoughtful social media use can be a tool for creating a specific image
of a user, such as a responsible, involved individual who volunteers in
their community. Just as easily, it can showcase negative behaviors that
reflect poorly on the user. Controlling your social media presence is
important. As with many things, preventative maintenance is better than
repair, but if a case is anticipated or in process, it can be too late
to erase the damage by deleting posts. So how do you handle your social
media accounts when you are pending litigation?
Social Media as Evidence
In cases where social media posts are used as evidence, removing these
posts can be seen as tampering with evidence. If the opposition were to
claim spoliation of evidence, it could have a negative effect on your
case. If you wish to take down posts, cautiously. It is best if your attorney
takes control of preserving evidence and creates permanent records of
all relevant posts and data. Keeping a record of the evidence can prevent
a charge of spoliation of evidence. Your attorney should be aware of your
local laws and conduct rules, since removing posts can be seen as alteration
of evidence, even if the posts are preserved in another form. If you are
unsure if deleting a post could cause harm to your case, consult your attorney.
Social Media in Personal Injury Cases
If you have been injured, your social media accounts could be used as evidence
that your injuries are less serious than claimed. You should avoid posting
or being tagged in:
- Pictures of activities, particularly activities that require some measure
- Check-ins at bars, sporting events, parties, or other locations
- Posts sharing treatment information
Posts of this nature can damage your case if the defendant can show that
you are still participating in activities and are not suffering.
Your social media can be monitored throughout the proceedings, and the
opposing side may look for information to use in the case against you.
Here are some tips to help you manage your social media presence:
- Set social media privacy to private or “friends only,” and
enable tag approval so you can control what you are tagged in online.
- Refrain from posting until the case is resolved, particularly posts related
to the case, your injury, your treatment, or check-ins to activities.
- Don’t post false or misleading information.
- Know that existing and future posts, comments, pictures, tags, and other
activity can have legal ramifications.
Social media can be complicated, especially when legal proceedings are
involved. You need to protect yourself, but you must not destroy evidence.
It can be a fine line, but your attorney can advise you on what you are
able to do to minimize the damage social media can have.
Do you need advice to manage your social media and protect yourself during
your case? Atlanta workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices
of Nathaniel F. Hansford, LLC can guide you through the process. Contact
us today at (770) 629-9321 to begin a free consultation!