Involved in a Lawsuit? Think before You Post on Facebook

San Francisco Personal Injury Car Accident Attorneys

Even though privacy experts have warned people to be careful about what they post on Facebook, hard lessons are still being learned regarding the consequences of using social media. While most of us have heard of creditors and collection agencies using information gathered from social media websites to locate and go after debtors, insurers are doing the same regarding personal injury lawsuits.

In fact, in a 2010 personal injury case, a judge ordered a woman to turn over materials she had protected with privacy settings on her Facebook page. The woman was in the process of suing a furniture store for injuries she claimed she sustained after falling off one of their chairs. The furniture company (Steelcase) claimed the publicly accessible areas of her Facebook page indicated the woman led an active robust life inconsistent with her injury claims.

Surprisingly, the judge agreed and ordered the woman to turn over materials she had protected with privacy settings.

Social Media Privacy – A False Sense of Security?

Most people are under the impression that if they have photos of themselves or other documents set aside behind privacy settings, their privacy is protected. While Facebook sided with the woman in the case above, arguing that the Stored Communications Act protected her from having to turn over the information, the judge argued users do not have an absolute expectation of privacy since in creating a Facebook or MySpace account, the woman consented to sharing information with others – regardless of her privacy settings.

While the judge’s Fourth Amendment reasoning seems less than convincing, it does indicate the degree to which nothing posted online is ever absolutely private.

Personal Injury Lawsuits, Facebook and MySpace

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, motorcycle accident, or pedestrian knockdown, the insurance company responsible for settling or paying your claim might be interested in what you have posted on your Facebook or MySpace page. Pictures of you able-bodied, participating in sports, or hiking along a ridge may be enough to convince a judge the insurer has a right to see what else you have on your Facebook account. While it may not ultimately change the outcome of the case, it could lead to unnecessary delays and the need to spend more time and money on establishing the seriousness of your injuries and prognosis.

Protect Yourself after You’ve been Injured – Contact Weber & Nierenberg

There are a number of things that need to be taken care of after a serious car or bicycle accident. For more information regarding the steps you need to take to protect yourself, contact San Francisco car accident attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg today.


 
 
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