The Social Media Risk: Cautions For Personal Injury Claimants

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Social media has tremendous power to spread good vibes. Through their various channels, individuals around the globe can connect, share, encourage and inspire. But the same technological mediums are showing their potential to significantly impact the outcome of legal cases - including personal injury law suits. Our post this week looks at the risks and some tips that may help injury survivors support their claims for compensation.

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Why The Controversy?

In a 2015 Canadian court case, one B.C. claimant sued for damages following two car accidents. Defence lawyers presented 194 of the woman's Facebook pages, which showed her engaging in numerous social activities - evidence that the judge found to be "completely inconsistent" with her claims of suffering emotional trauma.

While the possibility of fraudulent claims cannot be dismissed, social media posts may not truly reflect an injury survivor's pain and suffering. Even individuals in physical or emotional pain may muster the strength for a courageous smile when facing a camera. Yet, a single photo capturing one second in time may not reveal the hours a patient may normally spend coping with chronic effects from an injury.

Most social media users - healthy and otherwise - typically post positive rather than negative content. Some injury survivors may even do so in order to hide the true extent of their suffering or spare their loved ones from excessive worry.

Currently, each court judge must decide on whether to admit social media as evidence - and how much weight such content should be given.

Social Media Tips That Injury Claimants Can Apply

Individuals involved in a personal injury law suit can take reasonable measure to help prevent social media use from damaging their claim. Here are just a few:

  • Think before you post - Always be conscious that during a claim, your health, habits, and activities will be closely scrutinized by the defence.
  • Privacy settings - Check your social media account settings to keep content out of general public view, but know that a court could still order even private posts to be reviewed.
  • Seek a lawyer's guidance - An experienced personal injury lawyer can educate you on actions you should take and avoid during the case.
Gluckstein Lawyers champions the rights of the injured and has a long history of helping claimants protect their rights under the law.
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