The prominence of the Internet and popularity of social network sites have dramatically changed the way people live their lives. It was not so long ago that privacy was so important to people that the notion of allowing others to monitor every aspect of a person’s life would have been viewed as an unreasonable intrusion of privacy. Social networks have changed these societal norms. Many people now live in full view of virtual strangers and provide extensive details about every aspect of their daily activities. Our Miami trucking accident lawyers know that this choice to live one’s life in full view of anyone who will watch and listen can create a serious problem if you are injured in a tractor-trailer accident.
Insurance companies often hire investigators to help them develop negative information about an injury victim that the insurer could use to their advantage in negotiations or at trial. These investigators regularly search social network sites for information that can be used when defending a personal injury lawsuit. If you have a social network page on Facebook, Twitter or MySpace, you must be very careful about what you post on your site because it may later become evidence in your personal injury lawsuit. Some examples of how your social network site can hurt your personal injury case might include:
Severity of Injuries
Sometimes liability is fairly clear in a motor vehicle accident lawsuit, so the insurance company shifts its strategy to contesting the extent of your injuries and the appropriate measure of damages. Insurance company investigators may search your social network site for pictures that show you engaged in recreational activities that might undermine your injury claim. For example, a claim that you have serious back and neck pain might be compromised by pictures of you wakeboarding or snow skiing after your accident.
Shifting of Fault
Some people injured in trucking collisions and other motor vehicle accidents openly discuss the facts on a social media site. It is never a good idea to discuss your motor vehicle accident claim with anyone except for your attorney. However, it is an exceptionally bad idea to discuss your accident on your social media site where insurance adjusters may look for information that allows them to claim that you were at fault for your injuries.
Sometimes plaintiffs will post information on their social media site that is simply unflattering or that could be interpreted as reflecting poorly on their character. While this type of information is not always admissible in a personal injury lawsuit, it can be damaging if the insurance company attorneys are able to get the information before a judge or jury. There is no science to the total amount of damages that are awarded in a personal injury lawsuit. A more significant damage award could result if the jury likes a plaintiff. Accident victims must be careful about the things that they put on their social media site which might create an unfavorable impression with a jury.
These are more than hypothetical examples because there are already cases of social media sites having a real impact on personal injury cases. An idea of how social media sites have already affected the outcome of personal injury cases is reflected in the examples below:
Example 1 A judge admitted evidence showing pictures of a woman dancing that were posted on her social media site in a personal injury lawsuit that alleged she was disabled.
Example 2 An accident victim who claimed to have suffered a traumatic brain injury resulting in significant impairment of mental functioning was ordered by a judge to provide information regarding the frequency and nature of the victim’s activity on social media websites.
Example 3 A women, who claimed to have a serious back injury, saw her case compromised when the insurance company produced pictures from her social media page showing her doing the limbo on a cruise.
The bottom line is that if you are involved in a personal injury lawsuit resulting from a Miami trucking accident, you should avoid using social media sites while your personal injury lawsuit is pending. You should also consider pulling your existing social media site down entirely. Even past information about you on your social media site might be used by the insurance adjuster to compromise your claim. If you insist on maintaining a social media site, you should carefully monitor your security settings and not engage in conversations with those who you do not personally know on your social media site.
Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano: Seeking Maximum Recovery for Trucking Accident Victims and Families
Our Miami semi-truck accident attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano offer the assistance you need to pursue the results you desire. For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across South Florida.
We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Our skill and dedication have earned us an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald. Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.