23 Sep Virginia: Personal Injury Social Media – a Lawyer’s Facebook.com
Social media burst onto the radar of most lawyers in 2011 with repeated headline news coverage of a notorious truck accident case, Lester v. Allied Concrete. But Mr. Waterman has been wrangling with it for years.
In a confidential 2009 Williamsburg special case in Court, a party printed the other party’s Facebook photographs, surprised the opposition on cross-examination, and introduced them as key evidence. Since that social media irrefutably showed excessive drinking and apparent neglect, it carried the day.
Social media usually is intended for family and friends. But victims of car accidents, medical malpractice, other personal injury, and wrongful death seriously need to think twice and even thrice about what is posted by them innocently falling into enemy hands unwittingly.
Most victims of vehicle accidents and medical malpractice are unaware that anything posted may be held against them in Court. But defendants, defense lawyers, insurance companies, claim representatives, risk managers and other opponents now are very savvy to this and routinely search for, save, and download potentially incriminating information that is on social media.
All victims of personal injury or wrongful death immediately should consider privatizing all social media, scrutinizing all existing posts for content, and limiting all future posts. Of course, such prudence may be superseded by pending discovery requests, court orders, etc