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Does Social Media Affect My Personal Injury Case?

young couple taking selfie photo at hospital room with man in bed

Social media is a pervasive part of our daily lives. Over the past few years, we have been conditioned to share every intimate detail of our lives and update our friends, family, and followers about ourselves and important life events. When it comes to a personal injury case, however, social media can be devastating. Savvy defense attorneys know that a plaintiff’s social media can be a goldmine for material to undermine their claims. Read on for a discussion of just a few of the ways in which posting on social media after an accident can impact your case, and talk to a dedicated New York personal injury lawyer if you’ve been injured by someone else’s negligence in the Hudson Valley.

Admission of Fault

People like to be polite. We are used to apologizing, saying we are sorry, even if something is not actually our fault. Moreover, on social media people like to be self-deprecating to be funny (e.g.: “Look what I did to myself!”). Publicly apologizing or saying anything that can be taken as an admission of fault is likely to seriously undermine your personal injury case. Even if you meant a comment in jest, a defense lawyer is likely to use your post as an admission of fault, which can get your damages reduced or your case tossed out entirely.

Extent of Injury

People often post on social media after a serious injury to update friends and family about the state of their recovery. People like to alleviate the worst fears of their loved ones by assuring them that the injured person is perfectly fine and recovering well. Unfortunately, such posts can and will be used against you in a personal injury matter. If you are posting pictures or statements that downplay the extent of your injuries, the amount of pain you are suffering, or the functional limitations caused by your accident, defense counsel is likely to use those social media posts as evidence that your injury is less severe than you claim.

Even if you do not directly state that you are “fine,” posting pictures of you performing recreational activities such as sports can be used against you. If you claim to be unable to work or perform daily tasks, but there are pictures of you playing tennis after the accident, the defense attorney will use those photos as proof that you are overstating your injury. Even if the pictures are taken out of context, they could still hurt your case. Do not give the defense ammunition to use in reducing your damages.

Waiving Attorney-Client Privilege

Everything you say to your attorney about your case, and everything your attorney says to you, is confidential. Such discussions are kept out of court and away from the defendant and their lawyer, under the doctrine of attorney-client privilege. That privilege only carries, however, if you intend to keep those conversations private. If you share your discussions with your lawyer publicly (e.g.: “My lawyer says I can get $40,000 for my car crash!”), then you are at a minimum waiving your privilege concerning those disclosures.

Moreover, the defense attorney may be able to claim that the waiver applies to a broader range of your conversations with your lawyer, to give context to the part you did disclose. The last thing you want is for the defense attorney to get access to your confidential discussions with your attorney about your injury, the accident, and how much you are willing to settle for.

If you or someone you love has been hurt due to someone else’s negligence in New York, find out if you have a right to compensation for your injuries by contacting the seasoned and passionate Hudson Valley personal injury lawyers at Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP for a free consultation at 845-331-4100 (Kingston) or 845-236-4411 (Marlboro).

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